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^ WTT 




Wilfred A. French 



A HISTORY 



PHOTOGRAPHY 



WRITTEN AS 



A PRACTICAL GUIDE AND AN INTRODUCTION 
TO ITS LATEST DEVELOPMENTS. 



W. JEROME HARRISON, F. G. S. 



A BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF THE AUTHOR, AND AN APPENDIX BY 

DR. MADDOX ON THE DISCOVERY OF THE GELA- 

TINO-BROMIDE PROCESS. 



NEW YORK : 

SCOVILL MANUFACTURING COMPANY, 

W. Irving Adams, Agent. 












Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1887, by the 

ScoviLL Manufacturing Company, 

In the office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington, D. C. 






10T0GRAPH1C TIMES PHI 



CONTENTS. 



PAGB 

Introduction 5 

CHAPTER I. 
The Origin of Photography 7 

CHAPTER n. 
Some Pioneers of Photography — Wedgwood and Niepce 13 

CHAPTER HI. 
The Daguerreotype Process 21 

CHAPTER IV. 
Fox-Talbot and the Calotype Process 28 

CHAPTER V. 
Scott-Archer and the Collodion Process 38 

CHAPTER VI. 
Collodion Dry-Plates, with the Bath 45 

CHAPTER VII. 
Collodion Emulsion 54 

CHAPTER VIII. 
Gelatine Emulsion with Bromide of Silver 58 

CHAPTER IX. 

Introduction of Gelatino-Bromide Emulsion as an Article of 
Commerce by Burgess and by Kennett 64 

CHAPTER X. 
Gelatine Displaces Collodion 71 

CHAPTER XI. 
History of Photographic Printing Processes 78 

CHAPTER XII. 
History of Photographic Printing Processes (Continued) 96 

CHAPTER XIII. 
History of Roller-Slides ; and of Negative-Making on Paper 
and on Films 107 

CHAPTER XIV. 
History of Photography in Colors 117 

CHAPTER XV. 
History of the Introduction of Developers — Summing up 126 

APPENDIX. 
Dr. Maddox on the Discovery of the Gflatino-Bromide Pro- 
cess 130 

A Biographic Sketch of the Author 134 



PREFACE. 



As " Chapters in the History of Photography," a large part 
of this vokime was originally published in The Photographic 
Times. In that widely-read journal the "Chapters" attracted 
to themselves so much well-deserved attention, that, in response 
to the very evident demand on the part of the photographic 
fraternity, the jjiiblishers decided to present them in the more 
permanent and convenient form which their value and popu- 
larity seemed to require. 

Assisted by the author, and with his approval, Mr. W. I. 
Lincoln Adams, editor of The Photogeaphic Times, has ar- 
ranged the " Chapters " in their present form, added a bio- 
graphical sketch of the author, and the supplementary chap- 
ters, by the author, on the History of Photographic Printing 
Processes and on the History of Photography in Colors ; and 
the Appendix, by Dr. Maddox, on the Discovery of the Gela- 
tino-Bromide Process. 

The frontispiece portrait of the author is a "Moss-type," by 
the Moss Engraving Company, of this city, after a negative 
by Harold Baker, of Birmingham, England. 

The Publishers. 
New York, October 1, 1887. 



INTRODUCTION. 



One great charm of Photography is that it unites in the 
bonds of friendship men of all the countries under the sun — 
their common helper. Personally, I should feel grateful to 
Photography if it had done nothing more than make me ac- 
quainted with those kind friends beyond the seas who have 
taught me to realize so strongly the unity of our race, and to 
feel that between Englishman and American there ought to 
be the sincerest sympathy, the pleasantest rivalry. 

I am especially glad that my first book on photography will 
be first published in the United States, for I am convinced 
that it will there find readers not less generous than critical, 
and not more critical than appreciative. 

When our kind friend, Mr. ^Y. J. Stilhnan — who has won 
distinction and is equally at home in the two hemispheres — 
first pressed me to write for the Photographic Times, he 
recommended " practical " subjects. And in this History of 
Photography I believe I have chosen something directly use- 
ful and practical, though, perhaps, a few will be at first dis- 
posed to question the utility of such a record of the past. 
■" Don't tell us these old tales ! " some budding camera knight 
of full twenty-four hours' standing will exclaim, "our pro- 
cesses are perfect, and we care for nothing else ! " 

But photography is an evolutionary science. The key to 
the proper comprehension of the present lies in the past ; and 
no man can afford to neglect the rich mine of experience 
which is furnished by the work of his predecessors. Perhaps 
in no other art have so many things been discovered and re- 
discovered, and patented twenty times over, as in photography. 
Even to-day it only requires a diligent study of the photo- 
graphic literature of the past to bring to light many germs 
which, with our more advanced knowledge, can be perfected 
and turned to sources of pleasure and of profit. 

Then photography ought to be learned — and taught — 
historically. Let no man call himself a "photographer" on 
the strength of having fired off a few gelatine dry-plates. To 



O INTRODUCTION. 

obtain a competent knowledge of the science, you must work 
your way experimentally along the historical path. Repeat 
the experiments of Niepce and Daguerre, of Fox-Talbot and 
Scott-Archer, and you will learn to appreciate the labors of 
these " fathers of photography " ; will sympathize with their 
difficulties, and glory in their ultimate success. 

Not only will you produce a collection of most interesting 
specimens, but you will accumulate a store of solid knowledge, 
and will return to your gelatine dry-plates a master instead of 
an apprentice. 

To the many whose other avocations and want of time for- 
bid so complete a course, we still say, " Study the past ! "' 
Buy the old books as well as the new ones ; they will all teach 
you something. So far from photography having attained 
perfection, we believe it to be but as a little child. Great are 
our hopes and wondrous our visions of its future ; but every 
advance must be made step by step, and to successfully climb 
the pyramid of knowledge — which, unlike other pyramids, is 
daily increasing in altitude — we must start from the hase ! 

Then, have not the " men of might " who laid the founda- 
tions of our science, a claim that we should make ourselves 
acquainted with their lives and their work ? What soldier is 
there that does not love to read of Wellington and Bonaparte,, 
of Grant and Lee ? With equal interest ought the " children 
of the sun " to follow the painful path of Niepce, and stand by 
the death-bed. of Scott-Archer — the photographer who gave 
his precious discovery freely for the use of all, and who died 
poor and before his time, because he had overstrained his 
powers in the cause of our science. 

Let us hope that the great increase in the number of pho- 
tographic societies which has marked the last few years, will 
lead to the establishment of libraries in connection with them, 
and the formation of modest museums in which interesting 
relics, illustrating old processes, may be preserved, so that 
greater facilities may be afforded for the study of the history 
of photography. As an introduction to that history this hum- 
ble book has been written by 

TT. Jerome Harrison. 

Science Laboratory, Icknield Street, Birmingham, England. 



A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 



CHAPTEE I. 

THE ORIGIN OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 

Early liecords of the Action of Light upon Matter. — Plio- 
tograpliy is tlie cliild of optics and chemistry. As neither of 
these sciences attained anything like a fuU development until 
the present century, it is not surprising that the art of taking 
photographs was unknown to our ancestors. And yet there are 
many facts that must have been known, even to the ancients, 
whose meaning, if rightly appreciated, would have led to the 
early discovery of the art of photography. For example, 
lenses are all but absolutely necessary to tlie taking of photo- 
graphs,. and a lens has been found among the ruins of Nine- 
veh, a city which was destroyed more than a thousand years 
before the birth of Christ. This lens is now in the British 
Museum. During; the Middle Ages the manufacture and 
properties of simple lenses were well understood in Europe. 

The changes produced by the action of light upon matter 
are so common as to be matters of every-day observation. At 
a very early stage of civilization the tanning or bronzing of the 
human skin by the solar rays must have been noticed, even if 
the black skin of the negro was not assigned to its true cause 
— a constant residence beneath the intense rays of a tropical 
sun. A hundred years before Christ, the Roman philosopher, 
Pliny, noticed and recorded the fact that yellow wax is bleached 
by exposure to sunlight. The Greeks knew well that certain 
gems — the opal and the amethyst more especially — lost their 
luster from the same cause ; while the great Roman architect 
and painter, Yitruvius, was so conscious of the decolorizing 
effect of sunlight that he invariably placed his paintings in 
rooms facino; the north. 



b A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 

The Alchemists and Horn Silver. — During the Middle 
Ages almost tlie only inquirers into the secrets of nature were 
the alchemists, who vainly sought the philosopher's stone 
which should transmute the baser metals into gold. But 
though their search was vain, yet, as so often happens, these 
experimenters — Roger Bacon, Albert Magnus, Paracelsus, and 
a host of smaller lights — although they did not find what they 
were looking for, yet they made many discoveries of great 
value. The storehouse of nature is so rich that even the 
blind seeker is rewarded. And so these old alchemists be- 
came acquainted with some of the most powerful agents of 
modern chemistry — the acids for example — and, as the centu- 
ries rolled by, their discoveries bore fruit. 

Among those alchemists who experimented with the com- 
pounds of silver we find the name of Fabricius, who in 1556 
published a book upon metals. 

Horn-silver, or luna cornea as it was then termed, was the 
name given to a semi-transparent compound of silver and 
chlorine which occurred as an ore in the silver mines of Ger- 
many, but which Fabricius found could be prepared by adding 
a solution of common salt to a solution of silver nitrate. 
Fabricius and his co-workers appear to have been much sur- 
prised when they noticed that this silver compound — white 
when freshly prepared — quickly turned black when exposed 
to the sunlight ; but as the fact appeared to have no relation 
to the object which engrossed all their thoughts — the search 
for gold — no attempt was made to inquire into the nature of 
this surprising change ; a change which must also fiave been 
noticed by the miners wdio extracted the ore. 

Schulze's Experiment. — During the seventeenth and eigh- 
teenth centuries many instances were recorded of the effect of 
light in changing the colors of bodies ; but, as the result is 
most rapid and most striking in the case of compounds of sil- 
ver, it was to these that attention appears to have been chiefly 
directed. 

In 1Y27, J. H. Schulze actually obtained copies of writing 
by placing the written characters upon a level surface pre- 
viously prepared with a mixture of chalk and silver- nitrate 
solution. The rays of sunlight passing through the translucent 



A HISTORY OF PIIOTOGKAl'IIY. M 

paper blackened the silver compound beneath, except where it 
was protected by the ink forming the letters, and thus a white 
copy npon a black ground was obtained. Although we can- 
not, on the strength of this single experiment, assign to Schulze 
the title which Dr. Eder claims for him as the " discoverer of 
photography," yet it must be admitted that the experiment was 
a very remarkable one, and it is much to be regretted that it 
was not successfully and quickly followed up. 

Scheele examines Silver Chlo7'ide. — Charles William Scheele 
of Stralsund (then a Swedish town), was a distinguished inves- 
tigator, who may be considered as one of the founders of mod- 
ern chemistry. In 1777, he made the first scientific investiga- 
tion of the behavior of silver chloride under the influence of 
light. First he noted the action of differently colored light, 
showing that while the silver salt was quickly darkened by 
violet or blue light, the red and yellow rays had much less 
effect upon it. His results were confirmed by Senebier in 1 782, 
who wrote that "in fifteen seconds the violet rays blackened 
silver chloride as much as the red rays did in twenty minutes." 
IJut Scheele also discovered the cause of the darkening. He 
exposed chloride of silver to the action of sunlight underneath 
water, reasoning, doubtless, that the water would arrest and 
dissolve any substance which might be given off under the 
action of light. When the white salt of silver had blackened, 
Scheele poured away the water and added to it a little silver 
nitrate. Immediately a white substance was formed (owing 
to the silver nitrate combining with chlorine dissolved in the 
water), which was silver chloride formed anew. Thus Scheele 
proved that the effect of white light upon silver chloride is to 
decompose it, and cause it to give up some or all of its chlo- 
rine. As to whether the black residue is metallic silver (which 
appears black when in a very fine state of subdivision), or is a 
compound known as silver sub-chloride (AggCl), that is a mat- 
ter upon which chemists even yet are not agreed. Scheele's 
conclusions were doubted by Count Rumford, whose paper 
entitled " An Enquiry Concerning the Chemical Properties 
that have been attributed to Light," was published in the 
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society for 1798. 
He considered that the changes observed were due to heat 



10 A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 

rather than to light ; but his arguments were successfully con- 
troverted by Kobert Harrup, who, in the case of the salts of 
mercury at all events, conclusively proved {Nicholson's Jour- 
nal, 1802) that light alone was the determining agent of the 
changes observed. 

Invention of the Camera OhsGura. — It was not till near the 
close of the eighteentlL century that any one, with the excep- 
tion, perhaps, of Schulze, seems to have thought of applying 
the changes of color produced by the action of light upon sil- 
ver compounds to any practical purpose. And yet the instru- 
ment called the camera obscura had long been known, and 
those who gazed upon the beautiful pictures produced by its 
agency must often have longed to iind some method by which 
tliey might be fixed and retained. Invented by the Italian 
philosopher Baptista Porta about the middle of the sixteenth 
century, the camera obscura at first consisted simply — as its 
name implies — of a darkened room to which light M'as admit- 
ted only through a single small hole in the window-shutter. 
In such a room, when the sun is shining brightly, a faint in- 
verted image of external objects^ as the houses, trees, etc., 
upon which the window looks, is seen upon the white surface 
of the wall or screen within the room which faces the window. 
Porta improved this primitive contrivance by placing a double 
convex glass lens in the aperture of the shutter, outside which 
a mirror was placed to receive the rays of light and reflect 
them through the lens. The image upon the screen within 
was thus made brighter and more distinct, and was moreover 
shown in a natural or erect position. Crowds flocked to 
Porta's house in ]S"aples to see these pictures painted by light, 
glowing with color, and depicted with marvelous accuracy. 
Soon further improvements were made, and the camera ob- 
scura became a favorite adjunct to the country houses of the 
wealthy, often taking the form of a small circular building, 
erected if possible on a hilltop. The lens was then usually 
placed in the center of the conical roof, with a slanting mir- 
ror arranged so as to reflect the light from surrounding ob- 
jects downward through the lens; the picture thus formed 
was received upon the whitened surface of a table placed 
within the little building. Such erections are still not un- 



A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 11 

common in places of popular out-door resort, and interesting 
discoveries are not unfrequently made by those who have 
gained admittance, as to the doings of unsuspecting outsiders, 
who little think that their proceedings are pictured for the de- 
lectation of others. 

Now the photographer's camera is a miniature camera ob- 
scura, being nothing more than a well-made box having a lens 
at one end and a ground glass screen at the other. Still, a 
modern camera made by one of the masters of the art of cab- 
inet-making as applied to photography, and provided with a 
battery of first-class lenses, is nothing less than a work of art, 
and is correspondingly expensive. 

Early Visions of Photography. — A Chinese tradition cred- 
its the sun with sometimes producing pictures of the neigh- 
boring objects upon the ice-covered surfaces of lakes and 
rivers. A similar idea must have possessed the mind of 
Fenelon, when, in 1690, he wrote his fable called " Une 
Voyage Suppose," descriptive of the imaginary journeys of 
an imaginary personage, in which the following passage oc- 
curs : " There was no painter in that country ; but if any- 
body wished to have the portrait of a friend, of a picture, a 
beautiful landscape, or of any other object, water was j^laced 
in great basins of gold or silver, and the object desired to be 
painted was placed in front of that water. After a while the 
water froze and became a glass mirror, on which an inefface- 
able image remained." 

But it was reserved for another Frenchman, Tiphaigne de 
la Roche, to make a still nearer guess as to the manner in 
which " nature printed" pictures would one day be produced. 
In 1760 he wrote a book entitled " Giphantie" (an anagram 
of his own name), containing a series of wild imaginings, one 
of which must have appeared especially improbable to his con- 
temporaries, although it has since been literally fulfilled. The 
hero of " Giphantie" is carried by a hurricane to a strange 
land, where he is shown the method by which the native 
genii produced pictures. "You know," said the guide, 
" that rays of light refiected from different bodies form pic- 
tures, paint the image reflected on all polished surfaces, for 
example, on the retina of the eye, on water, and on glass. 



12 A HISTORY OF PHOTOGEAPUY. 

The spirits have sought to fix these fleeting images ; they 
have made a subtle matter by means of which a picture is 
formed in the twinkling of an eye. They coat a piece of can- 
vas with this matter, and place it in front of the object to be 
taken. The iirst effect of this cloth is similar to that of a 
mirror, but by means of its viscous nature the prepared can- 
vas, as is not the case with the mirror, retains a fac-simile of 
the image. The mirror represents images faithfully, but re- 
tains none ; our canvas reflects them 710 less faithfully, but re- 
tains them all. This impression of the image is instantane- 
ous. The canvas is then removed and deposited in a dark 
place. An hour later the impression is dry, and you have a 
picture the more precious in that no art can imitate its truth- 
fulness." 

After reading this very remarkable prophecy, one can hardly 
help thinking that De la Roche must have conceived the idea 
after viewing the pictures shown with Porta's " dark cham- 
ber," a contrivance which was then, as we know, in vogue. 




A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 13 



CHAPTER 11. 

SOME PIONEERS OF PHOTOGRAPHY— WEDGWOOD AND NIEPCE. 

Claims of Charles and of Boulton. — The discovery of 
photograpliy, altogether or in part, has been claimed for at 
least two men, who attained distinction in science towards the 
end of the eighteenth century. It has been stated that Pro- 
fessor Charles, who was well known in Paris as a lecturer on 
chemistry and physics about the year ITSO, not uncommonly 
(as a lecture experiment) obtained profiles of the heads of his 
students by placing them so that the required shadow of the 
features was cast by a strong beam of sunlight upon a sheet of 
paper coated with chloride of silver. As the light would dis- 
color that portion of the paper upon which it fell, the result 
was a white outline of the face upon a black background. But 
this statement is a mere tradition, and the best authorities have 
considered it "too vague and improbable to be taken into seri- 
ous account." 

Some twenty years back, an attempt was made to prove that 
Matthew Boulton, the partner of James Watt, was acquainted 
with a method of producing photographs, at least as early as 
1777. But the numerous pictures which about that date were 
sold by the famous Birmingham firm of Boulton & Watt, were 
executed by a mechanical process — possibly aquatint — the in- 
vention of an ingenious artist, Mr. Eginton, who was then em- 
ployed at the great Soho factory. These pictures were of large 
size, as much as five feet by four, and were colored. In a se- 
ries of pamphlets published in 1864-5, Boulton's grandson — 
Mr. M. P. W. Boulton — clearly proved that photography liad 
nothing to do with the production of these pictures. Living 
in that district of Birmingham where Boulton and Watt did 
their work, we have carefully studied this question, and can 
endorse the conclusions arrived at and very ably stated by the 
younger Boulton. A claim to rank as a discoverer of photog- 



14 A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 

rapliy recently made on behalf of Lord Brougham rests only 
on his statement that in a paper communicated by him to the 
Royal Society in 1795, he suggested the use of a plate of ivory 
rubbed with nitrate of silver, as a surface which might secure, 
permanently, the pictures of the camera obscura. But as this 
paragraph did not appear in the published paper (Brougham 
says it was eliminated by the secretary), we cannot seriously 
take it into account. 

Copying hy Sunlight — Wedgwood and Davy. — With the 
dawn of the nineteenth .century all things were propitious for 
the rapid advancement of matters scientific. Great progress 
had by this time been made both in chemistry and in optics ; 
while the art of experimenting — the knowledge of how to 
question nature — had become familiar to many men of talent 
and education. Thomas Wedgwood, fourth son of the great 
potter, earnestly studied the action of light upon certain com- 
pounds of silver. He was encouraged and assisted by Hum- 
phrey Davy, then just rising into fame as a chemist, and after 
Wedgwood's death Davy wrote an account of their work, 
which appeared in the Journal of the Royal Institution for 
1802. Wedgwood's best results were obtained by coating 
pajjer or white leather with a weak solution of silver nitrate. 
Tlie more or less opaque object which it was desired to cojDy 
was then placed on the prepared surface, and the whole ex- 
posed to sunlight. In a few minutes, the unprotected portions 
of the paper were darkened, and when the opaque object was 
removed, its form remained in white upon a black ground. 
Paintings on glass could be copied in this way, the light pass- 
ing through the transparent and semi-transparent portions, and 
blackening the sensitive paper placed underneath. Wedg- 
wood noticed that " red rays, or the common sunbeams passed 
through red glass, have very little action upon paper prepared 
in this manner ; yellow and green are more efiicacious, but 
blue and violet light produce the most decided and powerful 
effects." These facts had been previously published by 
Scheele and by Senebier, but Wedgwood does not appear to 
have known of their work. The scantiness of scientific litera- 
ture at that time, and the difficulty of communication between 
different countries, were indeed great hindrances to progress. 



A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 15 

The workers in any one country were usually ignorant of what 
had been done elsewhere ; so that the same track was pursued 
again and again, and the same discoveries made several times 
over. Davy made some important additions to Wedgwood's 
work. He found that the chloride was much more sensitive 
to light than the nitrate of silver. Both Wedgwood and Davy 
attempted to secure the pictures formed within a camera, upon 
paper coated with these salts of silver, but without success. 
Davy, however, using the more concentrated light of the solar 
microscope, readily obtained images of small objects upon 
paper prepared with silver chloride. 

But there was another and more fatal objection to this 
method of " picturing by light," which not even Davy, with 
all his chemical knowledge, was able to surmount. When 
the copies obtained were exposed to daylight, the same agency 
which had produced the picture proceeded to destroy it. The 
action of sunlight upon the white or lightly shaded portions 
constituting the picture speedily blackened the entire surface 
of the paper or leather, causing the whole to become of one 
uniform tint in which nothing could be distinguished. To 
prevent this it was clearly necessary to remove the unacted-on 
silver salt after the image had been formed, and before the 
paper was exposed, as a whole, to daylight. Long-continued 
washing in water was tried, but proved ineffectual ; nor was a 
coating of transparent varnish found of any service. Davy 
does not seem to have pursued the process with much energy,, 
and the whole thing dropped into obscurity. Still he clearly 
recognized its capabilities, for he writes : " I^othing but a 
method of preventing the unshaded parts of the delineations 
from being colored by exposure to the day is wanting to render 
this process as useful as it is elegant." In this copying pro- 
cess, devised by Wedgwood and improved by Davy, we see 
the germ of the ordinary method by which our negative pho- 
tographs on glass are made to yield a positive proof or imj)res- 
sion upon sensitized paper. 

A Patient Photographer — Joseph Nic'ephore Niepce. — 
The first man to obtain a permanent photograph was Joseph 
Nicephore Niepce, who was born at Chalons-sur-Saone, March 
7th, 1T6.5. Well educated, his parents designed him for the 



16 A IlISTOEY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 

Cliurch, but the outbreak of the P^rencli Revolution upset all 
their plans, and in 1794 IS^iejDce fought in the ranks of the 
Republican army which invaded Italy. Ill-health soon com- 
pelled his retirement from active service, and, marrying, he 
settled down at Chalons ; his brother Claude, to whom he was 
devotedly attached, residing with him. 

Even during childhood, the fondness of the l)rotliers Niepce 
for scientific pursuits had been very noticeable, and they now 
applied themselves to the task of invention, bringing out a 
machine called the pyrelophore, which propelled vessels by 
the aid of hot air ; and a velocipede, the ancestor of our mod- 
ern bicycle. Endeavoring to bring these inventions before 
the public, Claude went to Paris in 1811, and afterwards, 
crossed over to England, where he settled down at Kew, 

It was, apparently, about the year 1813 that Nicephore 
JSTiepce began the experiments which resulted in his discovery 
of what may be called the bitumen process in photography. 
From his correspondence with his brother Claude, we learn 
something of this method ; and when, in 1827, Nicephore visi- 
ted his brother at Kew, he brought with him many specimens 
of his work. These pictures, the iirst permanent photographs 
ever produced, Niepce desired to bring before the notice of 
the Royal Society, but as he declined to publish the process 
by which they were produced (being desirous to perfect it be- 
fore making it public), the rules of the society compelled them 
to refuse Niepce's communication. Having examined several 
of the specimens presented by this early French experimenter 
to his English friends, we can testify to the successful manner 
in which he had succeeded in copying engravings. 

Making but a short stay in England, Niepce returned to 
France, where, in 1829, he entered into a partnership with an- 
other investigator named Daguerre. But Niepce was not 
destined to complete his work, or even to publish his results ; 
he died in 1833, at the age of sixty-eight. Although it is im- 
possible to assign the title of " Inventor of Photography " tO' 
any one man, yet Niepce has probably the best claim to it. 
Quite recently a statue of I^iepce has been erected at Chalons. 

Lithography and Photography. — Lithography, invented by 
a German, Senefelder, in 1798, was successfully practiced in 



A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. IT 

France in 1812. Expert draughtsmen were required to exe- 
cute the necessary drawings upon tlie prepared surfaces of the 
smooth blocks of limestone employed. Now Niepce thought 
' that it might be possible, by the action of light, to cause de- 
signs, engravings, etc., to copy themselves upon the litho- 
graphic stone. The basis of all his work was the discovery 
that bitumen, or " Jew's pitch," as it was then commonly 
called, is rendered insoluble by the action of light. Niepce 
dissolved bitumen in oil of lavender, and spread a thin layer 
of it upon the stone. Next he varnished the draw ng on 
paper, of which he desired to secure an impression — the var- 
nish rendering the paper fairly transparent — and laid it upon 
the bitumenized stone. After exposing the whole to sunlight 
for an hour or so, the paper was renioved and oil of lavender 
poured upon the bitumen, by which those portions of it that 
had been protected from light by the opaque lines of the 
drawing were dissolved away, and the surface of the stone 
beneath was in those parts exposed. Thus the outlines of the 
original subject were reproduced with perfect truth. Lastly, 
by treating the stone with an acid, the exposed portions could 
be " bitten " or eroded more deeply, and it was then ready ibr 
printing from. Finding much difficulty in securing stone of 
a sufficiently fine and close grain, Niepee substituted metal, 
employing plates of polished tin, gtc, on which to spread the 
bitumen. Although the results he obtained were far from 
perfect, yet they were very promising, and heliography, as 
Niepce named this method, has since proved very useful. 

JSliepce Secures Photographs in the Camera. — Having ob- 
tained pictures by what we may calLcontact-printing, Niepce's 
next endeavor was to apply his process to securing the beauti- 
ful views produced by the aid of a camera. For this purpose 
he tried the chlorides of silver and of iron, and gum guaiacum, 
whose sensibility to light had been investigated by Wollaston, 
in 1804. Nothing, however, answered so well in his hands as 
the surface of bitumen or asphalt, with which he had already 
been successful in heliography. When exposed to the action 
of the light forming the picture within a camera, the bitumen 
became insoluble in proportion to the intensity of the light by 
which the various parts of the image were produced, an effect 



18 A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 

wliicli we now know to be due to the oxidation, and conse- 
quent hardening of this resinous substance. When the resin- 
ized plate was removed from the camera, no picture at all was 
visible on its surface. But by steeping the exposed plate in a 
mixture of oil of lavender and petroleum, the still soluble por- 
tions of the bitumen were removed. The shadows of the 
landscape were then represented by bare portions of the metal 
plate, while the insoluble resin which remained indicated the 
brightest parts, or " high-lights" of the original. Obviously 
such a picture would look more natural if the portions of 
polished metal exposed could be darkened, and for this pur- 
pose we know that ISTiepce employed various chemicals, and 
among others iodine. 

Correspondence of Niepce. — It is unfortunate that Nice- 
phore Niejtce never published a single line descriptive of his 
methods, so that it is only from his correspondence— and more 
especially his letters to his brother Claude — that we can glean 
our information. The difficulties of an experimenter in an 
obscure French town, seventy years ago, were indeed great. 
^Niepce tells us that his first camera was fashioned out of a cigar 
box, while his lenses were " the lenses of the solar microscope, 
which, as you know, belonged to our grandfather, Barrault." 
In a letter written to his brother in 1816, Niepce describes how 
he secured what was probably the first picture ever taken in a 
camera : " My object glass being broken, and being no longer 
able to use my camera, I made an artificial eye with Isidore's 
ring box, a little thing from sixteen to eighteen lines square. 
* * * * I placed this little apparatus in my workroom, 
facing the open window looking on to the pigeon house. I 
made the experiment in the way you are acquainted with, and 
I saw on the white paper the whole of the pigeon house seen 
from the window. * * * * One could distinguish the 
effects of the solar rays in the picture from the pigeon house 
up to the window sash. The possibility of painting by this 
means appears almost clear to me. * * * * I do not hide 
from myself that there are great difficulties, especially as re- 
gards fixing the colors, but with work and patience one can ac- 
vcomplish much." 

" Work !" and " Patience !" — truly Niepce himself combined 



A HISTORY OF PHOTOGEAPHY. 19 

these in no common degree. From the reference to white paper 
used in this early experiment, it would seem probable that silver 
chloride was employed. We know that Niepce used the sub- 
stance, and that he gave it up, because, like "Wedgwood and 
Davy, he was unable to fix or render permanent the pictures 
secured by its aid. 
\^y'^ Niepce' s Agreement ivith Daguerre. — This agreement bound 
the two investigators to communicate to each other all the pro- 
cesses which they had discovered for fixing the camera-image ; 
and it went on to state that the two inventors were to share 
equally in any profits that might be obtained. In compliance 
with this resolution, Niepce drew up the following important 
statement, which is dated December 5tli, 1829 : "• The discovery 
which I have made, and to which I give the name of helio- 
graphy, consists in producing spontaneously, by the action of 
light, with gradations of tints from black to white, the images 
received by the camera obscura. Light acts chemically upon 
bodies. It is absorbed ; it combines with them, and communi- 
cates to them new properties. Thus it augments the natural 
consistency of some of these bodies ; it solidifies them even ; 
and renders them more or less insoluble, according to the dura- 
tion or intensity of its action. The substance which has sue 
ceeded best with me is asphaltum, dissolved in oil of lavender. 
A tablet of plated silver is to be highly polished, on which a 
thin coating of the varnish is to be applied with a light roll of 
soft skin. The plate when dry may be immediately submitted 
to the action of light in the focus of the camera. But even 
after having been thus exposed a length of time sufiicient for 
receiving the impressions of external objects, nothing is ap- 
parent to show that these impressions exist. The forms of the 
future picture remain still invisible. The next operation then 
is to disengage the shrouded imagery, and this is accomplished 
by a solvent, consisting of one part by volume of essential oil 
of lavender, and ten of oil of white j)etroleum. Into this 
liquid the exposed tablet is plunged, and the operator observing 
it by reflected light, begins to perceive the images of the ob- 
jects to which it had been ex])osed, gradually unfolding their 
forms. The plate is then lifted out, allowed to drain, and well 
washed with water," To this Mepce adds : " It were, how- 



20 A HISTORY OF PHOTRGRAPHY. 

ever, to be desired that, by blackening the metal plate, we could 
obtain all the gradations of tone from black to white. The 
substance which I now employ for this purpose is iodine, which 
possesses the property of evaporating at the ordinary tempera- 
ture." We cannot but admire the graphic description of the 
phenomena of development here given by Niepce, and, with- 
out doubt, it formed the foundation of all the discoveries in 
photography that followed. It will be noticed that Niepce's 
method of development was a physical one only, for it consisted 
in simply washing away by a suitable solvent, the unacted-on 
and therefore still soluble parts of the bitumen. 

Defects of Niepce^s Process. — The chief objection to the 
beautiful and ingenious process discovered by Nicephore 
Niepce was the great length of time for which the bitumenized 
plate needed to be exposed in the camera. For an ordinary 
landscape an exposure of from six to eight hours was required. 
During this time the shadows of ol)jects changed from one side 
to the other, so that the resulting pictures were comparatively 
flat and s^iiritless, being devoid of the charming effects result- 
ing from the contrast of light and shade. Another trouble 
arose from the fact that in the half-tones of the picture the 
bitumen was only hardened at the surface, the layer beneath 
remaining soft and soluble. When the developing liquid was 
applied this lower layer was apt to be dissolved, and in the 
final washing it sometimes carried away with it the hardened 
upper portion, so producing bare patches or defects. 

Experiments in Ileliography. — Most black varnishes are 
made from asphalt, and we can easily imitate NiejDce's process 
by coating a glass or metal plate with a thin layer of such var- 
nish and exposing it under a negative to bright sunshine. By 
subsequent washing with petroleum the picture is readily de- 
veloped. 



A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 21 



CHAPTEE III. 

THE DAOUERRF.OTTPE PROCESS. 

Life of Daguerre. — Nicepliore ISTiepce was a man of a quiet 
and retiring disposition ; a student wlio was so immersed in his 
work and so desirous of perfecting it, that he hesitated — while 
as yet he felt it to be incomplete — to publish even the smallest 
details with regard to it. 

But the man with wdiom ]S'iei3ce entered into partnership — 
Louis Jacques Mande Daguerre — was of a very opposite tem- 
perament, bold and energetic, desirous of fame and its accom- 
panying rewards, accustomed to success and to the applause of 
the public. 

Daguerre was born at Coriiieilles, a village near Paris, in 
1787. Neglected by his parents, his native talents asserted 
themselves, and while still young he became known as a scene- 
painter of great power and originality ; while the mechanical 
effects which he introduced to add to the realism of his stage- 
views were the admiration of all Paris. 

In 1822, Daguerre opened a diorama in Paris, for which he 
executed paintings on a colossal scale for such scenery as the 
" Village of Goldau," the " Yalley of Sarnen," etc. By paint- 
ing on both sides of the canvas, and showing the picture lirst 
by reflected, and then by transmitted light, very remarkable 
changes and effects could be produced. 

In the sketches from nature which Daguerre made as a pre- 
liminary aid to the execution of these immense pictures, he 
frequently employed the camera obscura ; and it was tlfe re- 
markable beauty and perfection of the images produced by 
this instrument that determined the artist to attempt the dis- 
covery of some means by which they could be permanently 
retained. 

AVithout any scientific education or training this task w^ould 
have seemed to most persons a hopeless one ; but perhaps 



22 A HISTORY OF PHOTOGKAPHY. 

Daguerre's very ignorance of tlie difficulties to be encountered 
was one cause of his perseverance. The date of liis first at- 
tempts appears to have been about 1824, and during the next 
two or three years we hear of his paying frequent visits to the 
shop of Chevalier, a well-known optician, of whom Daguerre 
purchased the camera, lenses, and other articles necessary to 
his new pursuit. 

In 1826, Daguerre was informed — probably by Chevaher — 
that a gentleman at Chalons had ali'eady made considerable 
progress toward the end which he was himself desiring to at- 
tain. Letters addressed to Niepce received, however, but curt 
responses, and it was not till 1827, when Niepce passed through 
Paris on his way to England, that he entered into cordial rela- 
tions with Daguerre. The partnership between these two 
workers, which was established in 1829, was continued after 
the death of the elder l^iepce, Isidore Niepce taking the place 
of his father. 

Publioation of the Daguerreotype Process in 1839. — Year 
after year passed away and left our scene-painter still toiling 
after his ideal — ever endeavoring to fix the fleeting images 
formed by the lens of his camera. His ordinary work is neg- 
lected, but he passes nine-tenths of his time in his laboratory. 
It was at this period that Madame Daguerre sought advice as 
to the sanity of her husband, and was not, perhaps, much com- 
forted by the assurance of the men of science whom she con- 
sulted that the object of her husband's researches was " not 
absolutely impossible ! " Five years after the death of Niepce 
his partner was able to announce that he had overcome all 
difficulties, and that henceforth nature would depict her own 
likeness with a pencil of light. In 1838, Daguerre attempted 
to form a company which should acquire and work the new 
process; but the Parisian public were utterly incredulous, 
and the shares were not taken up. In this extremity Daguerre 
showed his specimens, and, in confidence, explained his method 
to the eminent French astronomer and physicist, Arago- 
Arago's admiration and delight with this new and wonderful 
j)rocess by which objects were made to draw their own pictures 
were unbounded. As a man of science, and of world-wide 
reputation, his endorsement of the value of Daguerre's dis- 



A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 23 

covery at once establislied its worth, and on his recommenda- 
tion the French Government awarded to Daguerre a hfe pen- 
sion of 0,000 francs, and to Isidore Niepce one of 4,000 francs 
per annum, on the condition that tlie invention should be pub- 
hshed without patenting it ; tliis money being paid by France 
for " the glory of endowing the world of science and of art 
with one of the most surprising discoveries that honor their 
native land." l^otwithstanding this official statement, a patent 
was taken out by Daguerre in one country — England — in 
1839. 

Dagnerre is said to have placed a written account of his pro- 
cess in the hands of Arago in January, 1839, and at the same 
time to have publiclj" exhibited specimens of the results which 
he had up to that time obtained ; but no details were revealed, 
nor was the paper published until the meeting of the Academy 
in August of that year. The new process was named Dagiier- 
r(eotype, and the excitable inhabitants of the French metroiDolis 
went into ecstacies over it. Nevertlieless, the daguerreotype 
process was, at the time of its publication, very imperfect, and 
it was destined to undergo important modifications and im- 
provements during the next three or four years. 

The news of Daguerre's wonderful discovery soon spread to 
other countries, and the inventor obtained a rich reward by 
the sale of apparatus, and by the instruction of hundreds who 
flocked to Paris to learn the details of the new art. A keen 
observer — Sir John Eobinson — wrote as follows, in 1839, to a 
friend in the United States : " Circumstances led to my being 
included in a small party of English gentlemen who were lately 
invited to visit the studio of M. Daguerre to see the results of 
his discovery. I satisfied myself that the pictures produced 
by his process have no resemblance of anything, as far as I 
know, that has yet been produced in this country. Excepting 
the absence of color, they are perfect images as seen by reflec- 
tion from a highly polished surface. The subjects which I 
saw were views of streets, boulevards and buildings ; vacillat- 
ing objects made indistinct pictures. There can be no doubt 
that when the daguerreotype process is known to the public it 
will be immediately applied to numberless useful processes ; 
and even the fine arts will gain, for the eye, accustomed to 



24 A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 

the accuracy of the Daguerre pictures, will no longer be satis- 
fied with bad drawing, however splendidly it maybe colored." 
Every word of this prediction has since been fulfilled. 

Daguerre died in 1851, aged sixty-three. In 1883, a bust 
of this ardent worker was unveiled at Cornieilles, funds for 
its execution having been contributed by photographers of all 
civilized nations. Viewing his whole career, Daguerre must 
be considered as a fortunate man. Not only did he reap much 
honor and material benefit from his discovery, but he lived to 
see photography rise to an important place amongst the arts 
and sciences. 

How Daguerre wa-'^ Led to his Discoveries. — The materials 
employed by Daguerre in his early experiments — between 
1821: and 1829 — appear to have been the same as those used 
by "Wedgwood and Davy — the chloride and nitrate of silver 
spread upon paper ; and he did not advance upon, if, indeed, 
he equaled, the results obtained by the two English chemists. 
After entering into partnership with Mepce, and learning the 
details of his bitumen process, Daguerre followed for a time 
in the same track ; but further study enabled him to work out 
improvements and modifications which led him ultimately to 
a greater success. We know that Niepce sometimes used 
metal plates coated with silver ; moreover, he emj^loyed iodine 
to darken these plates after the j)icture had been developed. 
Using these two materials — plates of silver and vapor of iodine 
— Daguerre found that the iodide of silver, formed by expos- 
ing silver to the vapor of iodine, was sensitive to light. When 
such " iodized silver plates " were exposed within the camera, 
faint images of bright objects were impressed upon them in 
the course of two or three hours. 

Development hy Mercury Yapor. — At this stage a happy 
"accident" occurred, which revealed to Daguerre a method by 
which not only was tlie time of exposure necessary to secure a 
good picture greatly reduced, but the distinctness and beauty 
of the image was much enhanced. It apj^ears that one day 
Daguerre removed from his camera a plate, which, either from 
the shortness of the exposure or the dullness of the light, showed 
no sign of an image. He placed this blank plate in a store 
cupboard, intending to clean the surface and use it again. But 



A IirSTOKY OF PIIOTOGEAPHY. 25 

what must have been our photographer's surprise when, on 
taking out this plate the next morning, he found npon its sur- 
face a distinct and perfect picture ! Another prepared plate 
was quickly exposed for an equally short time w^ithin the 
camera, and again a sojourn of twenty-four hours within the 
magic cupboard sufficed to bring out a picture. The next 
step was to ascertain to which of the numerous chemicals kept 
within tlie cupboard this marvelous effect was due. By a 
process of elimination it was at last traced to a dish full of 
mercury. 

Delighted by this fortunate discovery, Daguerre at once 
proceeded to place his exposed plates over a dish of warm 
mercury, when the vapor proceeding from the liquid metal 
was found to settle upon the iodized silver in exact proportion 
to the intensity of the light by which each part of the plate 
had been affected. This was, in fact, a process of " develop- 
ment," an invisible or " latent " image being strengthened and 
thereby made visible. Some such method of "developing" 
the originally feeble impressions produced upon sensitive 
plates by a short exposure to light has been found necessary 
in every photographic process. 

Ilow Daguerreotypes were Fixed. — Another advance made 
l)y the French artist was the discovery of a fixing agent. This 
was neither more nor less than a strong solution of common 
salt, in wdiich the plates were soaked after development, 
and which dissolved and washed away the iodide of sil- 
ver that had not been acted on by light. But when, al- 
most immediately after the publication of the daguerreotype 
process in 1839, Sir John Herschel drew attention to the 
supei'ior qualities of hyposulphite of soda as a solvent of the 
silver salt, Daguerre immediately adopted it for clearing and 
fixing his exposed plates. We may mention that this sub- 
stance, so valuable to every photographer, was discovered by 
Chaussier in 1799, and its power of dissolving the haloid salts 
of silver had been described by Herschel as early as 1819.* 

Improvements in the Daguerreotype Process. — The first 



*See paper on " Hyposulphurous Acid and Its Compounds," Edinburgh 
Philosophical Journal, vol. i., pp. 8, 396. 



26 A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 

Daguerreotyj^es were so delicate that the merest touch of the 
finger was suflicieiit to mar their beauty, and, when exposed 
to the air, they rapidly tarnished and deteriorated. This de- 
fect was remedied by M. Fizeau, who gilded the image by 
means of a mixture of chloride of gold and hyposulphite of 
soda. This solution was poured over the silver plate, which 
was then heated until the liquid evaporated, leaving a thin 
coating of gold upon the picture, which was thereby rendered 
more distinct, as well as more permanent. 

Another great improvement was introduced by Mr. God- 
dard, a London science lecturer, in 1840. He exposed the 
iodized silver plate to the action of bromine vapors, thereby 
forming a bromide of silver upon the plate in addition to 
iodide of silver. In 1841, M. Clandet used chlorine vapors in 
a like n:ianner. Plates prepared by either of these methods 
were found to be far more sensitive to light than those which 
had been simply iodized. In fact, the time required to pro- 
duce a picture in the camera was thereby reduced to from one 
to five minutes, or, with a very good light, to less than one 
minute. 

As the three elements referred to above were only discov- 
ered, chlorine in 1774, iodine in 1811, and bromine in 1826, 
we see that photography was hardly possible before the present 
century. 

Introduction of Portraiture hy Photography. — After the 
improvements of Goddard and Claudet, which were quickly 
adojjted by Daguerre, the production of portraits by the da- 
guerreotype process became comparatively easy. In the very 
first attempts at portraiture, which appear to have been made 
in America by Draper and Morse, in 1839, the sitter's face 
was covered with white powder, the eyes were closed, and the 
exposure, lasting for perhaj)S half an hour, was made in bright 
sunshine ! To lessen the glare of light, which painfully affect- 
ed the sitter, Draper caused the sunlight to pass through a 
large glass tank containing a clear blue liquid — ammonia sul- 
phate of copper — before falling upon the sitter, thus filtering 
out most of the heat rays, which could well be spared, as they 
possess little or no actinic value. In 1840, Beard and Claudet 
opened photographic studios in London ; Davidson followed 



A HISTORY OF PHOTOGEAPHY. 27 

suit in Edinburgh, and Shaw in Birmingham, and soon 
daguerreotypy became a trade. For landscapes, etc., the 
daguerreotype process was but seldom employed, though we 
read of a fine instantaneous picture of New York Harbor 
being secured by its aid.* 

Defects of the Daguerreotype Process. — The expense of the 
plates, which were usually of copper plated with silver, was a 
serious objection to the daguerreotype process. As late as 
1854 we find the price of daguerreotypes in England was two 
and a half guineas each for the quarter-plate size (4J x 3^), 
and four guineas each for half-plate size. The cleansing and 
polishing of the silver surface on which the picture was to be 
produced, was a most troublesome task, necessitating great care 
and a vast amount of labor in the production of the " black 
polish" which was necessary. It must also be remembered 
that there was practically no power of multiplying a daguerre- 
otype — a fact due to the opacity of the silver plate. It is true 
that Grove (now Sir W. R. Grove, one of Her Majesty's Jus- 
tices) devised a method of etching daguerreotypes with acid, 
so that they could be used in a printing press ; but, practically, 
this method was a failure. 

The daguerreotype held sway for about ten years only, from 
1839 to 1851. It was more popular in Americaf than in Eng- 
land ; indeed, in the latter country, specimens of the art are 
now quite rare. With all its faults it was an immense advance 
on anything previously known, and entitles Daguerre to rank 
with the leading inventors of the nineteenth century. 



* The original is in the possession of Mr. J. Werge, of Berners Street, 
London, to whom I am indebted for a copy. 

f For an admirable description of the faults and merits of a daguerreo- 
type portrait, see Hawthorne's "House of the Seven Gables," chap. vi. 



28 A HISTORY OF PHOTOGEA.PHY. 



CHAPTER lY. 

FOX-TALBOT AND THE CALOTYPE PROCESS. 

Life of Fox-TaTbot. — While Daguerre was pursuing liis re- 
searches into matters photographic, in France, another worker 
was advancing toward the same goal in England, though by a 
different road. 

Henry Fox-Talbot, born February, 1800, was of high line- 
age ; the Talbots taking rank among the oldest families in 
England ; while his mother — Lady Elizabeth Fox-Strangways 
— was the eldest daughter of the Earl of Ilchester. 

The future discoverer of photography graduated at Cam- 
bridge with high honors, in 1821. He sat for two years in 
Parliament, but politics had no charms for him, and in 1834 
he retired from public life to devote himself wholly to scien- 
tific research. 

Talbot was a very versatile student of nature. His earliest 
work was mathematical; but between 1826 and 1834 he pub- 
lished five papers upon various phenomena connected with 
light. Then for many years photography engrossed his 
thoughts ; but in after life he studied and wrote on " Spec- 
trum Analysis," the " Cuneiform Inscriptions of Egypt," etc. 
Altogether fifty papers frona his pen appeared in various sci- 
entific periodicals between 1822 and 1872. 

Fox-Talbot died at his family seat, Lacock Abbey, in Wilt- 
shire, on the lYth of September, 1877, full of years and honor. 
As a discoverer of photographic processes, he may fairly claim 
to be placed on an equality with Niepce and Daguerre. 

Talbot^ s Early Work in Photograj)hy. — Talbot tells us that 
it was in 1833, while sketching the beautiful scenery of the 
Italian lakes with the aid of a camera obscura, that he was 
struck with the idea that it might be possible to fix, and retain 
permanently, the exquisite fac-similes of surrounding objects 
produced by the aid of that instrument. 



A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 29 

Six years of steady work at the problem followed, at the end 
of which the publication of Talbot's process — for he succeeded 
in devising a means by which his object was attained — was 
hastened by the news that a Frenchman had also achieved suc- 
cess in fixing the camera-image. 

It was on the 25th of January, 1839, that Professor Faraday 
described the new method of "■ Photogenic Drawing" (for so 
Talbot styled his invention) to the members of the Eoyal Insti- 
tution — then, as now, a very popular London scientific club — 
and invited them to inspect a collection of drawings produced 
solely by the aid of light. On the 31st of the same month, a 
paper giving a full description of the method was read by Tal- 
bot before the Koyal Society ; this paper was shortly after- 
wards published in the Philosophical Magazine. Thus the 
publication of Talbot's process was made before that of Da- 
guerre. 

But when the two methods came to be compared it was 
found that they were essentially diflierent. Talbot had fol- 
lowed up in his photographs on paper, the line of research in- 
dicated by Wedgwood ; while Daguerre's method with polished 
silver plates was built upon the foundation furnished by JNiep- 
ce ; thus each had completed the work of his own country- 
man. 

The Method of Photogenic Drawing. — Talbot's success was 
due, in the first place, to the fact that he had succeeded in 
rendering chloride of silver far more sensitive to light than 
Wedgwood or Davy had been able to do. Taking fine writing- 
paper, he soaked it in a weak solution of common salt, and 
then brushed one side of the paper twice over with a solution 
of nitrate of silver. When this was done, what chemists call 
" double decomposition" took place, and chloride of silver was 
formed in the pores and upon the surface of the paper ; while 
mingled with the chloride there was also a slight excess of the 
nitrate of silver. It was to this use in combination of the two 
salts of silver — the nitrate being in excess — that the increased 
sensitiveness to light which paper so prepared was found to 
possess was due. Talbot found that paper treated in this way 
was darkened by even a momentary exposure to bright sun- 
light. By its aid he readily secured images of objects in the 



30 A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 

solar microscope. But his croAvning triumpli was attained 
when, after an exposure of about an hour, he succeeded in ob- 
taining an impression of the picture formed by the lens within 
the camera obscura. Talbot states that he had reached this 
point in 1835, and that in that year he secured several camera 
pictures of his residence, Lacock Abbey. 

How Talbot Fixed his Pictures. — It will be remembered 
that it was the want of a fixing agent which baffled Sir Hum- 
phy Davy in 1802. But Talbot was more fortunate. After 
well washing his photographs he soaked them either in a solu- 
tion of common salt, or in a solution of potassium iodide or 
bromide. By this treatment he found that his pictures were 
rendered permanent ; at least they could be freely examined 
in the daylight without further darkening. 

The Calotype or Talhotype Process. — Fox-Talbot did not 
rest content with his early successes. After the publication of 
Daguerre's paper, in 1839, he tried the iodide of silver instead 
of the chloride ; and above all he succeeded in discovering a 
method of development by which the time of exposure necessary 
to secure a picture was very greatly reduced. In Talbot's early 
experiments the sensitive paper had to remain at the back of 
the camera until the image was printed-out upon it by the ac- 
tion of light ; and for this a good light and a long period of 
time were necessary. But in September, 1840, Talbot states 
he discovered that if the sensitive paper be brushed over with 
a mixture of gallic acid and nitrate of silver, and be then 
exposed, while still wet, within the camera, the time necessary 
to secure a picture is only two or three minutes. He also 
found that the paper might be dried and exposed in that state, 
the image being subsequently brought out or " developed " by 
brushing over it more of the " gallo-nitrate of silver " solution. 

Reade Independently Discovers Development hy Gallic 
Acid. — It is tolerably certain that in the system of develop- 
ment described in the last paragraph, Talbot had been antici- 
pated by a few months by the Kev. J. B. Keade, a well-known 
English clergyman. We have seen that Wedgwood had no- 
ticed, some forty or fifty years before the time of which we 
are now speaking, that copies by light were produced most rap- 
idly when leather was used as a support for the salts of silver. 



A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 31 

Readff also found this to be the case, and as his inroads upon 
his wife's stock of white kid gloves were not unnaturally ob- 
jected to by that lady, he was led to the discovery that the in- 
creased sensitiveness to light was due to the solution of nut- 
galls with which leather is impregnated during the operation 
of tanning. Finally, he secured in what may be termed the 
essence of the galls — gallic acid — a substance capable of 
strengthening or developing the invisible photographic, or, 
as it was then termed, the latent image, which is formed, after 
even a very short exposure, upon the surface of the sensitive 
paper within the camera. 

Talbot Patents the Calotype Process. — Talbot patented his 
calotype (beautiful picture) process in February, 1841. It is 
the third British patent for photography, the two previous 
ones being for the daguerreotype process. The calotype pro- 
cess was also frequently called Talbotype, in honor of the dis- 
coverer. The patent was afterwards disputed in the law courts 
on the ground of its '' previous discovery" by the Rev. J. B. 
Reade ; but it was upheld by the judge mainly for the reason 
that Reade did not properly publish or make known his dis- 
covery. 

Outline of the Calotype Process. — The paper was carefully 
selected, of a close, even texture and fine surface. A solution 
of nitrate of silver (100 grains to six ounces of water) was 
brushed over one side of the paper and allowed to dry. It 
was then dipped into a solution of potassium iodide (500 grains 
to one pint of water), where it was left for two or three min- 
utes. During this time the iodine combined with the silver 
to form iodide of silver. Lastly, the paper was rinsed in pure 
water and dried, when it was seen to be covered with a pale 
yellow coating of iodide of silver, which in that condition was 
practically unacted upon by light. 

When it was desired to use this calotype paper, it was taken 
into the dark-room and brushed over with " gallo-nitrate of 
silver," made by mixing a solution of nitrate of silver (50 
grains to the ounce) with one-sixth its volume of strong acetic 
acid, and adding an equal quantity of a saturated solution of 
gallic acid. The paper so prepared might be used wet, or it 
might be dried and kept for use at some future time. In 



32 A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 

either case tlie picture could be subsequently brought out by 
brushing more gallo-nitrate of silver over the exposed sur- 
face ; though, if the paper was exposed while still wet, this 
was not absolutely necessary. Finally, the picture was fixed 
by well washing first in water, then in a solution of potassium 
bromide or some other soluble bromide, and then in water 
again. 

In a patent taken out in 1843, Talbot claimed the use of a 
hot solution of '' hyposulphite of soda (or any other soluble 
hyposulphite)," to give increased whiteness to calotype and 
other photographic pictures, and at the same time make them 
more permanent ; but this claim was quite indefensible, since 
Sir John Herschel had announced the power of this substance 
to dissolve the salts of silver as early as 1819, and had again 
called attention to its value for this purpose in 1840. 

PhotographiG Negatives and Positives. — Niepce found 
that in the pictures obtained on his resinized plates, the lights 
and shades were just the reverse of those of nature ; the 
whitest parts of the original objects being represented by the 
dark surface of the insoluble parts of the bitumen, while the 
shadows were indicated by the bared surface of the metal plate. 
In the same way Talbot found that the brightest parts of any 
landscape were represented by black patches of reduced silver 
upon his sensitive paper, while those parts of the paper upon 
which little light fell (the dark shadows, etc., of the landscape) 
remained white. Thus the developed image upon a sheet of 
calotype paper was the exact reverse, as far as light and shade 
were concerned, of the objects depicted. To such a picture 
Sir John Herschel, in 1841, applied the name of "negative." 
But paper is a semi-transparent substance, and by oiling or 
waxing it its transparency can be greatly increased. ^This 
fact, combined with the reversed nature of the original, en- 
abled Talbot to obtain true copies of any negative by placing 
a piece of sensitive paper underneath the negative, and then 
exposing it to sunlight. The rays of light passing through 
the clear or transparent parts of the negative, blackened the 
paper beneath. After a suflicient time had elapsed the lower 
sheet of paper was removed, and it was then found to present 
a correct picture in black and white of the original objects. 



A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHV. 33 

To such a copj Herscliel applied the name of '"positive.'' It 
is obvious that in this way any number of positives could be ob- 
tained from a single negative, and in this respect the calotype 
process had a great advantage over the daguerreotype. 

Publication of the '•''Pencil of NatitreP — In 1843, Fox- 
Talbot visited Paris, lecturing on his calotype process to large 
audiences, and instructing the Parisian pliotograpliers in his 
method. To make generally known its capabilities, he began, 
in 18-14, the issue of " The Pencil of N'ature," a book which 
appeared in six parts, containing twenty-four calotype plates, 
between 1844 and 1846 ; it is a handsome quarto, and was 
sold for three guineas. This book is now very scarce, but in 
all the various copies which I have examined the pictures are 
more or less faded, the fading extending gradually from the 
edges to the center. The fact is that the necessity for a very 
thorough washing of each print to free it from hyposulphite 
of soda was not fully recognized in those early days of the 
art. 

Later Work of Fox-Talbot. — After the introduction of 
Archer's collodion process, in 1851, Talbot devised a modifica- 
tion of it by which he obtained instantaneous pictures, as 
those are called which receive an exposure of a fraction of a 
second only. Perhaps the experiment which he performed in 
the lecture room of the Royal Institution in proof of liis suc- 
cess has never been surpassed. Fastening a page of the Times 
newspaper to the edge of a revolving wheel, a clear photograph 
of every letter was obtained by the aid of the electric dis- 
charge of a battery of Leyden jars. ]^ow it is known that the 
brilliant spark of light produced by such a discharge does not 
continue for more than the ten-thousandth jjart of a second. 
This " instantaneous process " was, however, complicated and 
difficult, and only its inventor was successful with it. 

In 1852, Talbot invented a process of engraving on steel 
plates by the action of light upon a surface composed of gela- 
tine and bichromate of potash, to which he gave the name of 
photo-glyphy. About 1854 he introduced albumen to give a 
gloss to the surface of the paper on which photographs are 
printed. 
.^Jefects of the Calotype Process. — It is hardly possible to 



34 A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 

overrate the diflacnlties which photographers had to contend 
witli half a century ago. Many of these diflacnlties were ex- 
traneous to their art. Thus hyposulphite of soda was, in 1840, 
a chemical curiositv, and for years afterward its price was six 
shilliuiis per pound ; jpure chemicals, too, were hardly to be 
obtained, so that the worker was often forced to manufacture 
his own materials. 

The calotypists were especially at the mercy of the paper- 
makers. Canson, in France, and Turner, Hollingworth, and 
others, in England, made good paper, but still the grain was 
perceptible, and it was frequently uneven, knotty, and speckled 
with particles of metal from the machinery of the paper mills. 
Then it wa.s difficult to get the paper to lie flat in the dark- 
slide, and its comparative opacity made the negatives print 
slowly. To remedy the latter defects, the French experiment- 
ers, Le Gray and Blanquart-Evrard, introduced, about 1850, 
the method of waxing the paper by dipping it in melted wax 
and then ironing it between sheets of blotting-paper. This 
made the paper more even in texture and very translucent. It 
was then sensitized, exposed, and developed in the usual way, 

LigJd for the Darh-Room. — From the moment that the 
silvered plate of Daguerre, or the sheet of paper used by Tal- 
bot, was fully sensitized, it became impossible to expose it to 
ordinary light. The only white light allowed to fall upon the 
sensitive surface must be that which passes through the lens 
of the camera, and by that light the image is imprinted on the 
film containing the silver salt. But it is impossible, or at all 
events most inconvenient, to go through the operations of sen- 
sitizing and developing the plates in utter darkness. Here the 
fact discovered by Scheele, in 1777, comes to our aid. He 
found that red light produced no chemical effect upon the 
chloride of silver ; and, speaking of the ordinary salts of silver 
employed in photography — the chloride, the iodide, and the 
bromide — it may be said that they are unaffected by pure red 
light. Even yellow light has little or no effect upon these 
substances if they are contained in collodion ; but when bro- 
mide of silver in gelatine is tested in the same way, a few 
minutes' exposure to strong yellow light will be found to pro- 
duce a change. Capt. Abney, however, has recently prepared 



A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 35 

bromide of silver in such a molecular condition that it is strong- 
ly affected even by the red rays. Speaking genei-ally, how- 
ever, we may say that no harm is done to the sensitive surfaces 
ordinarily used by the photographer by a few minutes' expos- 
ure to red, or even orange light, and this space of time is 
sufficient to enable him to perform the various operations 
which are necessary. I have elsewhere recommended the use 
of covers of red card-board for all the flat dishes in which sen- 
sitive plates or paper are manipulated ; and by using trays 
fitted with lids of ruby glass, it is quite possible to develop 
plates in any ordinarily lighted room. Thus the photographer's 
^' dark-room " would be more properly called the " red-room," 
for its windows are usually glazed with ruby glass, and its gas- 
jets and lamps fitted with ruby globes. 

In 1844, Claudet actually took out a patent for the use 
of red light in photographers' dark-rooms ; but he does not ap- 
pear to have attempted to enforce it. During the collodion 
epoch (1851-80), yellow light was generally employed to de- 
velop by. For our gelatine dry-plates, either an orange or a 
ruby-colored light is preferable. 

Contrast between Daguerreotype and Talbotype. — For ten 
or twelve years after the publication of the discoveries of Da- 
guerre and Talbot, their processes — so distinct in method, al- 
though aiming at a like result — held joint sway over the little 
world of photography. By professional portraitists the Da- 
guerreotype jirocess was preferred, owing no doubt to the clear 
sharp pictures and beautiful detail which could be secured 
thereby ; in part, also, their preference may have ])een due to 
the high prices which were cheerfully paid for pictures on 
"plates of silver." Amateurs, on the other hand, usually em- 
ployed the Talbotype process ; it was less expensive, less 
cumbrous, and permitted of the multiplication of the results 
obtained — for one good negative would furnish a large number 
of positive copies. 

Ilersehel Introducef^ Glass Plates. — Photogi-aphy is in- 
debted to Sir John Herschel for many great improvements. 
The "famous son of a famous father," he was born i-n 1792, 
and was therefore in the zenitii of his powers at the time of 
Daguerre's discovery (1839). He immediately suggested the 



36 A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 

use of glass plates as a support for the sensitive salts of silver; 
recognizing in the transparency, rigidity, and cheapness of glass, 
together with its indifference to the chemicals employed, pro- 
perties of the highest value in photography. 

Herschel's plan was to place his glass plates at the bottom of 
a vessel containing finely divided sUver chloride in water. The 
white silver salt was slowly deposited, in a uniform film, upon 
the upper surface of the glass. The water was then syphoned 
off, and the plate dried and exposed to the camera. The images 
obtained in this way were, however, very faint, and although 
some success attended HerscheFs attempts to intensify them by 
electro deposition, still good prints could not be obtained. At 
that time it was not known that silver chloride is unaffected b}^ 
light, nnless there be some substance mixed with it which is 
capable of attracting and combining with the chlorine which is 
liberated, under such conditions, by the action of light. 

The Albumen Process on Glass. — Niepce de St. Victor, born 
1805, died 18T0, nephew of ?!AeEiepce, improved on Herschel's 
plan by recognizing the fact that it is necessary to coat the glass 
plates employed in photography with a film of some suitable 
substance, in and on which the particles to be affected by light 
may rest. For this purpose he employed albumen, beating up 
white of egg with potassium iodide (20 grains per egg\ potas- 
sium bromide (four grains), and common salt (two grains). The 
clear liquid so obtained was poured upon the glass jjlate, dried, 
and heated until the albumen hardened and became insoluble. 
It was then dipped into a bath of silver nitrate, where a chemi- 
cal change took place, resulting in the formation of iodide and 
bromide of silver within the pores of the albumen. The plate 
thus sensitized could either be exposed while wet, in the camera, 
or it might be rinsed, dried, and kept in a dark place till 
wanted. Development was effected by brushing a solution of 
gallic acid over the albumenized plate. This process was pub- 
lished in 1848, and improvements in it were quickly effected 
by two other French investigators — Blanquart-Evrard and Le 
Gray. 

This albumen process was a considerable advance. The 
transparency of the glass permitted the production of positive 
prints at a rapid rate ; while the clear and delicate film of albu- 



A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 3Y 

men furnished a capital medium for holding the molecules of 
the sensitive silver salts, and securing their adhesion to, and 
equal distribution over, the surface of the plate. It is a mis- 
take, however, to suppose that such substances as albumen, col- 
lodion, and gelatine, are nothing more than vehicles in which 
the sensitive molecules are contahied. They each exercise an in- 
fluence—differing in degree — upon the silver salt imbedded in 
them, by which the decomposing action of light is faciUtated. 
In Great Britain the albumen process was practiced successfully 
about 1850, by Messrs. Ross and Thomson, of Edinburgh, 
whose pictures of architectural subjects on plates fifteen inches 
square were greatly admired. Many travelers also used dry- 
plates prepared on this system. Its chief drawback was the 
length of exposure necessary — from five to twenty minutes 
under ordinary conditions. 




38 A HISTORY OF PHOTOGKAPHY. 



CHAPTEE V. 

SCOTT-ARCHER AND THE COLLODION PROCESS. 

Discovery of Gun-Cotton. — Schonbein, the famous Swiss 
chemist, discovered, in 1846, that when ordinary cotton is soaked 
in a mixture of nitric and sulphuric acids its properties become 
greatly changed. The explosive substance so obtained received 
the name of gun-cotton, or insoluble pyroxyline. When the 
acids were slightly dilute, or when the time of soaking was 
very short, a less dangerous compound was obtained, which was 
known as soluble pyroxyhne. 

Preparation of Collodion. — In the next year — 1847 — an 
American investigator named Maynard (of Boston), showed 
that when soluble pyroxyline was dissolved in a mixture of 
ether and alcohol, a somewhat viscid liquid was produced, to 
which he gave the name of collodion. When this collodion was 
poured out upon a level surface, as that of a sheet of glass, the 
ether quickly evaporated and a delicate skin or film was left 
behind. When dry this film was fairly tough and horny. Col- 
lodion formed so admirable a covering for bruises, etc., pre- 
venting the access of air, that it speedily became of use in 
surgery. 

Collodion Introduced into Photography . — In 1849, a French- 
man, Gustave Le Gray, suggested that collodion might prove 
useful in photography. In his book — which was translated in- 
to English in 1850 — he writes, " I have just discovered a pro- 
cess upon glass by hydrofluoric ether, the fluoride of potassium 
and soda dissolved in alcohol 40 degs. Fahr., mixed with sul- 
phuric ether, and afterwards saturated with collodion ; I after- 
wards react with nitrate of silver, and thus obtain proofs in the 
camera in five seconds in the shade. I develop the image with 
a very weak solution of sulphate of iron, and fix with hyposul- 
phite of soda." 

Another early investigator in this line was Robert J. Bing- 



A HI8T0KY OF PHOTOGBAPHY. 39 

ham, who, as assistant to the great Faraday, iiiadetlie acquaint- 
ance of collodion inmiediately on its introduction into England 
in 1847. In a book published in 1850, he gives, first Herschel's 
method ; then a method with albumen, then one for coating 
glass plates with isinglass, and finally adds, '' we may, in place 
of the gelatine (isinglass) employ a number of other substances 
to form an adherent film upon the glass. The following are a 
few of those we have experimented w^th and found to answer 
moderately well — gluten, collodion, varnishes, etc." But al- 
though Le Gray and Bingham may take the credit for having 
been the first to suggest a possible use of collodion in photog- 
raphy, yet the merit of the invention and publication of the 
collodion process proper belongs entirely to Frederick Scott- 
Archer ; his article describing this method first appearing in a 
London periodical called The Chemist, in March, 1851. 

Life of Scott- Archer.^BoYW at Bishop Stortford, in 181P>, 
Archer was apprenticed to a silversmith in Leadenhall Street, 
London. His tastes w^ere artistic, and on attaining manhood 
he became a sculptor. It is said that his early attempts at 
photography, by the calotype method, about 1847, were stimu- 
lated by his desire to employ the art tosecm-e mementos of the 
productions of his chisel. In September, 1850, Archer's new 
process was so far advanced that he communicated it to his 
friends, among whom were Dr. H. "W. Diamond, Mr. P. W, 
Fry, and others, from whom he received much assistance. 
Probably Archer did not realize the importance of bis dis- 
covery, for he did not attempt to patent it; although in lSo5 
he patented a method of removing the collodion film from 
glass by coating it with gutta-percha, an improvement which 
had little or no practical value. 

So good and complete was Archer's method that in three or 
four years it practically displaced both calotype and daguerreo- 
type, and reigned supreme from 1855 to 1880. The inventor 
took up photography professionally, opening a studio in Great 
Russell Street, near the British Museum ; but he made no 
money by photography, for his brain was too busy in imagin- 
ing new things to reap the benefit of thatwdiichhe had already 
accomplished. Among other inventions devised by Archer, 
we may name a camera, within which the plates could be de- 



40 A IlISTOKY OF PHOTOGKAPHY. 

veloped and fixed, as well as exposed ; a triplet lens ; and a 
useful method of whitening positives on glass bj soaking them 
in mercury bichloride. This was called the "alabastrine 
process." 

Scott-Archer died in May, 185Y, and was buried in the 
London suburban cemetery called Kensal Green. A subscrip- 
tion of £747 was raised for his widow and little children, but, 
Mrs. Archer dying shortly afterwards, the amount was settled 
on the children, together with a government pension of £50 
per annum, awarded on the ground that their father was " the 
discoverer of a scientific process of great value to the nation, 
from which the inventor had reaped little or no benefit." 

Outline of the Collodion Process. — The following account 
is taken from a small book — '" Manual of the Collodion Photo- 
graphic Process" — published by Archer in 1853; a second 
edition appeared in 1854. 

1. Immerse eighty grains of cotton-wool in a mixture of one 
ounce each of nitric and sulphuric acids ; take out after fifteen 
seconds, and wash thoroughly in running water, 

2. Dissolve the pyroxyline so obtained in a mixture of equal 
parts of sulj)huric ether and absolute alcohol. The solution so 
obtained is ordinary collodion. 

3. Add some soluble iodide — usually iodide of potassium — 
to the collodion. A little potassium bromide may also be 
added, 

4. Pour the iodized collodion on a perfectly clean glass 
plate, and allow two or three minutes for the film to set, 

5. Take the coated plate into the dark-room and immerse it 
in a bath of silver nitrate (30 grains to every ounce of water) 
for about a minute. Here a chemical change takes place by 
which silver iodide is formed in the pores of the collodion. 

6. Remove the plate, which is now sensitive to white light, 
place it in a slide-holder, and expose it in the camera. The 
time of exposure " may vary from one moment to a quarter of 
an hour." 

7. Take the plate back to the dark-room and develop it by 
pouring on it a mixture of water, one ounce ; acetic acid, one 
dram ; pyrogallic acid, three grains. Archer claims that " the 
great power shown by pyrogallic acid in bringing out the 



A HISTORY OF PHOIOGRAPHV. 41 

latent image was first made known by me iu a short descrip- 
tion in the May number of The Chemist for 1850." 

8. Fix the image by soaking the plate " in a strong sohition 
of hyposulphite of soda." At a later period cyanide of potas- 
sium was preferred by most operators for this purpose. 

Collodion Positives. — When a single picture only was de- 
sired, a short exposure was given, and the deposit of metallic 
silver which forms the image was whitened, by soaking the 
developed plate in mercury bichloride. When a black surface 
was then placed ])eliind the photograph it stood out on the 
glass in correct black and white as a positive image. Probably 
every household has specimens of such collodion positives, of 
which large numbers were produced between 1854 and 1870. 
An American improvement consisted in the use of thin plates 
of black or chocolate enameled iron — ferrotypes, irreverently 
called tintypes — or sheets of black japanned leather, instead of 
glass. Itinerant photographers still employ this " positive " 
method largely, since by it they can complete and hand over 
their productions to their clients within a few minutes. 

For making lantern slides the wet collodion process is still 
coii^-idered one of the best, if not the best method. 

Popularization of Photography. — Up to about 1853 a pho- 
tograph was considered l^cruriosity ; but the introduction and 
perfection of the collodion process made photography, for the 
first time, a really popular pursuit. With mistaken ideas as 
to the ease of the new method, large numbers of amateurs 
purchased the necessary materials, and, about 1858, the camera 
became as common an object as the barrel organ ! 

But with the practice of photography came the sad knowl- 
edge that there is no royal road to the taking of good pictures. 
Although money might be lavishly spent in the purchase of 
costly apparatus, yet it was soon found that some knowledge 
of chemistry, and some artistic taste, together with practice in 
manipulation, and neatness and accuracy in working, were in- 
dispensable to success. Moreover, the chemicals employed — 
more especially the silver nitrate— had ways of marking the 
apprentice to photograi^hy ; stains of inky darkness upon the 
hands and clothes soon earned for the infant science the ap- 
pellation of the " black art." 



43 A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 

Thus the popularity of photography — as an amusement for 
amateurs — declined almost as rapidly as it had risen. Still 
some lasting effects of the first photographic boom remained. 
The Photograpliic Society of London,* established in 1853, 
has always exercised a favorable influence on photography in 
Great Britain ; while our two old weekly periodicals, the ^V^o- 
tographiG News, dating from 1858, and the British Journal 
of Photography, 1859 (as a monthly from 1854), have stead- 
ily led the way in endeavoring to make photography more and 
more a science ; and in showing that it is something better 
than a mere mechanical pursuit, or means of getting a liveli- 
hood. 

Improvements in Lenses. — In 1841, Towson, of Liverpool, 
pointed out that since in an ordinary or " uncorrected" lens 
the focus of the chemical rays (as we may call those which 
produce the principal effect upon the salts of silver) is not the 
same as the focus of the visual rays, i. e., those by which the 
image is seen, it is necessary to adjust the distance of the lens 
from the ground glass, after the picture has been focused, in 
order to allow for this. Here Professor J. Petzval, an emi- 
nent mathematician of Vienna, came to the rescue, and de- 
vised a portrait lens which brought all the rays practically to 
the same focus. This lens was manufactured by Voigtlander, 
of the same city, and soon acquired a great reputation. 

Development of Professional Photography. — Among the 
earliest daguerreotyj)ists of America were Messrs. John John- 
son and A. Wolcott, who worked together. Mr. Wolcott, 
in order to take portraits more rapidly, devised a camera with 
a concave mirror instead of a lens, and the plate was placed in 
the focus of the mirror. In 1840, Johnson came to London, 
took out a patent for his " reflecting camera," and entered 
into partnership with the holder of Daguerre's patent, Mr. 
Beard. They engaged a Mr. Goddard from the Polytechnic 
Institution as an assistant, and it was found that by using bro- 
mine in addition to iodine for sensitizing the silver plates, the 
time of exposure was reduced from minutes to seconds. At 
this time, 1841, there were only two photographic establish- 

* Title changed to Photographic Society of Great Britain, in 1876. 



A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHS. 43 

ments in London, those of Beard and Claudet, but the new art 
abeady enjoyed much popularity and their takings were fre- 
quently as much as £50 per day. 

The census of Great Britain for 1841, does not record pho- 
tography as an occupation at all ; even in 1851, only 51 pro- 
fessional photographers are included ; while in the returns for 
1881, we find no fewer than 7,614 photographers. 

In 1857, professional photography derived considerable bene- 
fit from a fancy of the Duke of Parma, who had his portrait 
gummed on his visiting cards in the place of his name. Dis- 
deri, in Paris, court photographer to I^apoleon III,, pushed 
the matter, and soon it became the correct thing for every 
person in society to present his friends with his carte-de- 
visite. 

The patent of Daguerre lapsed in 1853, and as Fox-Talbot 
was defeated in a lawsuit which he brought, in 1 854, against 
a professional photographer called Laroche, who employed the 
collodion process (which Talbot claimed as only a modification 
of his calotype), the field of photography was free to all. 
Ever since 1854 its history has been one of steady and con- 
tinued progress. 

Some Defects of the Wet Collodion Process. — Of the an- 
noyance and damage caused by the black stains of nitrate of 
silver we have already spoken ; but the odor of the collodion, 
due to the evaporation of the ether and alcohol which it con- 
tained, was also very disagreeable, especially in the small and 
usually hot rooms in which photographic operations were com- 
monly carried on. Then, in the preparation of the glass plates 
before they were coated, great care had to be exercised to get 
a smooth and chemically clean surface ; the least scratch, or 
speck of dust, showed as a defect in the finished picture. The 
making of collodion was so troublesome a process that it was 
usually purchased ready made. The bath of silver nitrate 
was another source of endless trouble ; its vagaries fill a large 
portion of the photographic periodicals of the time ; it needed 
continual care, attention, and renewal. Lastly, the necessity 
of keeping the surface of the sensitive plate wet during the 
whole time of exposure, introduced a serious difficulty when 
it was desired to carry the plates even a small distance ; or 



44 A HISTORY OF PHOTOGKAPHY. 

wlieii, as in the case of photographing interiors, the neces- 
sary exposure extended over a period of several hours. 

Sorne Achievements of the Workers with Collodion. — Al- 
tliough the photographer who has only acquired the art within 
the last few years is aj^t to look upon the earlier processes 
which we have now described with the contempt which nat- 
urally springs from ignorance, yet it is certain that many of 
the wonders of the new photography has been equaled in the 
past " for there were giants in those days !" The principal dif- 
ference is that the work has now been rendered more easy and 
more certain. We glory in the wonderful rapidity of gelatine 
dry-plates, but many years ago Breeze, Blanchard and others, 
secured upon wet-plates all those surprising effects of breaking 
waves and fleeting clouds which many believe have but re- 
cently been obtained. 

In general work, to take a few examples only, the genre pic- 
tures of Rejlander — whose " Ginx's Baby " enjoyed unbounded 
popularity — the landscapes of Mudd, England, Bedford, and 
Frith, and the portraits of Salomon, Claudet, and Silvy, were 
all done with collodion, and wiU ever remain " hard to beat." 

Effect of the Recent Improvements in Photography. — The 
main result of the new discoveries in photography which have 
signaHzed the last half dozen years, has been to render it pos- 
sible for any person of ordinary intelligence and industry to 
produce good or even excellent pictures with far less expendi- 
ture of time and labor than was formerly the case ; and this 
without that soiling of the fingers, clothes, and surroundings, 
which in the old days caused every photographer to be a 
" marked man," 



■^ 



A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 45 



CHAPTEK VI. 

COLLODION DKY-PLATES, WITH THE BATH. 

Inconvenience of Wet-Plates. — In the earliest photographic 
processes, the sensitive surfaces employed were exposed in a 
dry condition to the action of light. The silver chloride paper 
of Wedgwood and Davy, the bitumenized plates of Niepce, 
and the iodized silver plates of Daguerre, were all nsed in a 
dry or desiccated state. 

In the calotype process, devised by Fox-Talbot, where a 
support of paper coated with silver iodide was employed, the 
paper might be exposed either in a wet or in a dry state. In 
the yonnger ^Niepce's albumen process on glass, when it was 
desired to use the plates dry, which was generally the case, 
the surface, after sensitizing, was washed to free it from the 
free nitrate of silver, and the plate was then dried by the aid 
of heat, which coagulated the albumen. 

But in the collodion process, as introduced by Scott-Archer, 
in 1851, it was absolutely necessary that the glass plates coated 
with collodion containing iodide and nitrate of silver, should 
be exposed while wet ; in fact, as soon as possible after their 
removal from the bath of silver nitrate solution. Moreover, 
the exposed plates must be developed as quickly as possible — 
before the surface has had time to dry. 

The chief reason for this is that the silver nitrate crystallizes 
as the plate dries, and the network of distinctly visible crystals 
so formed interferes with and spoils the picture. The iodide 
of silver also becomes insensitive to light when dried in con- 
tact with the silver nitrate, combining with it to form iodo- 
nitrate of silver. 

For this reason the ordinary wet collodion process, though 
well adapted for the studio, is not so suitable for landscape 
work or for the requirements of travelers. A heavy equip- 
ment has to be carried in the form of tent, nitrate bath, etc., 



46 A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 

and a good supply of water — indispensable for the processes of 
development and fixing — must be at hand ; so that we some- 
times read of tremendous exertions incun-ed by enterprising 
photographers in carrying barrels of water to a mountain 
top, where that precious fluid was otherwise unattainable. 
Again, if the exposure was a very long one, as in the 
case of dark interiors where several hours were sometimes 
necessary, the surface of the plate had time to dry, and 
the picture was then, of course, spoiled for the reasons given 
above. 

Lastly, in very cold weather the solution of silver nitrate 
froze upon the plate when it was used in the open air, so that 
out-of door photography during the winter months was all but 
impossible. 

To remedy this defect of the wet collodion process, other- 
wise so great an improvement on all that had gone before, was 
the aim of many experimenters in the years which immediately 
succeeded its introduction in 1851. Of the steps by which 
success was finally attained, and of the still later workers who 
caused gelatine to displace collodion, only meagre and uncon- 
nected details have been hitherto given. Aided by an earnest 
study of contemporary literature, it will be our aim to endeav- 
or to supply this defect. 

Device for Preventing Evajyoration. — Early in 1853, a 
French photographer, M. A. Girod, proposed'^ to apply a 
second plate of glass to the surface of the wet collodion, so as 
to protect it from the action of the air ; the plates were placed 
together in the dark-slide, the plain glass being next the light. 
After exposure, the plates were separated, and the collodion- 
ized plate developed as usual. 

One objection to this plan was the liability to injure the 
delicate skin of collodion. It was also difiicult to apply the 
second glass plate without including air bubbles ; imperfections 
in the glass itself also had an injurious effect. As an improve- 
ment, M. Gaudin suggested the separation of the two glass 
plates by strips of filter paper around the edges. The plain 
glass plate would then be removed just prior to exposure. Or, 

* In La Lti/niire for March 19th, 1853. 



A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 47 

better, the plates might be carried, one above another, in an 
air-tight box, by which evaporation wonld be checked. None 
of these plans, however, were found to be of much practical 
value ; for one thing, they greatly increased the weight of 
glass which had to be carried. 

A Ifoist Collodion Process. — In the Philosophical Maga- 
zine for May, 1854, Messj-s. John Spiller and William Crookes, 
names that have since become famous in the annals of chemis- 
try, proposed to keep the collodion moist by the use of some 
deliquescent salt, i. «., some substance which, having a strong 
affinity for water, would absorb moisture from the air. They 
tried the nitrates of lime, magnesia, and zinc. The glass plate 
was collodionized and sensitized in the usual way, and was 
then inmiersed in a solution of zinc nitrate and silver nitrate 
for live minutes. After draining for half an hour on blotting- 
paper, the plate was ready for use. Such plates remained 
moist (owing to the hygroscopic nature of the zinc salt), and 
lit for use for a week or more. They could also be kept for 
some time after exposure, but before development it was 
necessary to dip them again into the silver nitrate bath. Sub- 
sequently Spiller and Crookes found that nitrate of magnesia 
acted rather better than nitrate of zinc. 

The Honey Process. — In 1854, George Shadbolt and Max- 
well-Lyte independently proposed the use of a solution of 
honey, or of grape sugar, to coat the sensitized plate, which 
had been previously washed until the greater part of the free 
nitrate of silver was removed. Before development, the syrup 
was washed off, and the plate again dipped in the nitrate bath. 
By this coating with honey the surface of the sensitive plate 
was kept moist, and crystallization of the remaining silver ni- 
trate was prevented. Plates treated in this way required about 
double the exposure of ordinary wet plates ; but they could be 
kept for days between sensitizing and exposing ; and again 
between exposing and developing. They were, however, very 
liable to spots, since particles of dust adhered firmly to the 
sticky coating. 

The Taupenot, or Collodio- Albumen Dry-Plate Process. — 
A process which found great favor, and which was practiced 
for many years, was published, in 1855, by the French scien- 



48 A HISTOKY OF PHOTOGKAPHY. 

tist, Dr. J. M. Taupeiiot.* It was, in fact, the Hrst dry-plate 
process of practical utility. As first published, Taupenot's 
method was to take the collodionized and sensitized plate, pour 
over it a solution of iodized albumen, and allow it to drain and 
dry ; the plate was then dipped a second time into a silver- 
nitrate bath, again washed, and finally dried. This double 
process was thought rather tedious, but the plates so prepared 
would keep for weeks or months. 

It may be remarked that the addition of albumen to the 
ordinary silver nitrate bath had been previously recommended 
by Mayall,t the plates being dipped in the mixture, and then 
washed and dried. 

In the collodio-albumen process the film was very apt to slip 
off the glass during. fixing, and Barnes, Hardwich, and others 
advocated, in 1859, the application of a coating, or substratum, 
of gelatine, albumen, or india-rubber, which, adhering firmly 
to the glass surface below and to the collodion above, would 
hold the latter securely on the plate. 

Taupenot's process owed its popularity in England largely 
to Mr. W. Ackland, who wrote several papers pointing out its 
advantages. Of the many who pi-acticed it, Mr. James Mudd, 
of Mancli ester, obtained perhaps the best results, his landscapes 
being objects of admiration at many of our exhibitions between 
1860 and 1870. The principal, almost the only, fault of the 
collodio-albumen process, was its slowness. The plates re- 
quired an exposure about six times longer than wet collodion. 
Then the plates would not keep for very long periods ; at least, 
they were never so good after six or eight weeks. 

The Oxymel Process. — This method of arresting evaporation 
from the surface of a collodionized plate was described by J. 
D. Llewelyn in April, 1856. Oxymel is a mixture of vinegar 
and honey, and plates covered with it were found to retain 
their good qualities for eight or ten hours. But the exposures 
were long — about six times more than for ordinary wet collo- 
dion plates. 

Collodion Plates Kept in Water. — Perhaps the simplest 



* La Lumiere, Sept. 8th, 1855. 

\ Journal London Photographic Society, May 21st, 1855. 



A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 49 

way of keeping the collodion " moist" was suggested by H. N. 
King,* wlio carried liis sensitized plates in a liglit-tiglit box 
tilled witli distilled water ; the weight of the water required 
was an obvious objection to this plan. 

Collodion Dry-Plates. — Mr. G. R. Muirhead, of Glasgow, 
statedf on the -Itli of August, 1854, that " light acts almost as 
energetically on a dry surface as on a wet, and if a plate be 
washed well in water (after immersion in the silver bath) to 
remove all the free nitrate, and allowed to dry, it will remain 
unaltered for a lengthened period ; before developing the plate 
it must be dipped in the silver bath, as a photograph will not 
develop without the presence of free nitrate of silver." 

But in this discovery Muirhead had been anticipated by M. 
A. Gaudin, who had declared:}: several months previously, that 
" the presence of this film (of nitrate of silver) during the ex- 
posure is altogether superfluous ; it is only useful during the 
development " of the plate. 

Accordingly Gaudin washed his sensitized plates in distilled 
water, until the silver nitrate upon their surfaces was removed ; 
having thus " suppressed the argentiferous film," the plate was 
dried by the aid of heat, exposed, again dipped in the nitrate 
bath, and then developed. In this very suggestive paper the 
author also points out, that the absence or thinness of the image 
at the point where the developer is poured on, is due to the 
liquid sweeping away the free nitrate of silver from that part. 
He also suggests the use of a solution of white sugar, honey, 
treacle, etc., which permit in fact the nitrate of silver to dry 
upon the plate without crystallizing ; in this, Gaudin may be 
said to have anticipated Shadbolt and Lyte. 

Early in 1855, Dr. Hill Norris, of Birmingham, described § 
a dry process in which the sensitive j)lates were waslied, first 
in distilled water, and then in the usual developing solution of 
pyrogallic acid, after which they were dried and kept till 
wanted. 



'" Journal London Photographic Society, Feb. 21st, 1857. 
\ Journal Photographic Society, vol. ii., p. 19. 
X In La Lumih-e for April 22d and May 27th, 1854. 
§ Journal London Photographic Society, May 21st, 1855. 



50 A HISTORY OF PHOTOGEAPHY, 

The Fothergill Process. — This process was first described 
by Mr. Thomas Fothergill in the Times newspaper earl}^ in 
1858. It was, in fact, merely the first half of Tanpenot's pro- 
cess, the albumen being washed off the sensitized plate, which 
was then allowed to dry. It was found that notwithstanding 
this washing, suflicient albumen was retained in the pores of 
the collodion to answer all necessary purposes. From its sim- 
plicity, Fothergill's process was largely practiced between 
18f>Y and 1865, and dry-plates made on this principle were 
then an article of commerce. 

Dry-Plate " Preservatives^ — After the publication of Dr. 
Tanpenot's collodion-albumen process in 1855, every few 
months saw the announcement of some new substance or other, 
wherewith the sensitive surface of a collodion plate might be 
covered, so as to enable it to be dried and kept ready for use. 
We now know that such "preservatives" have a triple func- 
tion : (1) they fill the pores of the collodion and so give ready 
access to the developing solution when it is subsequently ap- 
plied ; (2) they protect the silver salt from the action of the 
atmosphere ; and (3) they assist the action of light by absorb- 
ing the bromine or iodine given off from the silver salt during 
the exposure. 

Among the preservatives formerly in use we may name 
gelatine (Hill-ISrorris, July, 1856), meta-gelatine (Maxwell- 
Lyte, February, 1857) ; golden syrup (J. Sang, April, 1857), 
gum arable (A. Johnson, August, 1857), besides brown 
and white sugar, dextrine, raspberry vinegar, beer, wort, 
malt, morphine, tea, coffee, tobacco, and many other sub- 
stances. 

Dr. Hill Norriis Collodio- Gelatine Process. — Dr. Norris 
first laid down the theory that for dry processes a porous col- 
lodion was necessary, and that one great function of the pre- 
servative coating was to fill up the pores of the collodion while 
the latter was wet and open. Then, subsequently, when the 
developer was applied, it passed readily by means of the coat- 
ing into the collodion film. On September 1st, 1856, Dr. 
Norris took out a patent for the following process, by which 
pictures may be produced " on perfectly dry and hard collo- 
dion films. Having produced in the film the sensitive iodide 



A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 51 

of silver, it is immersed in a solution of gum-arabic, or of 
dextrine, starch, gelatine, albumen, gum-tragacanth, vegetable 
mucilage, caseine, gluten, or other such like substances, that 
will, by occupying the pores of the collodion film, prevent its 
condensation on drying, and retain it in a sensitive and per- 
vious state ; the films are then dried, and are ready for expos- 
ure to light, or may be kept for any convenient length of time 
and used as desired." Dry-plates prepared according to this 
method, or rather, it Mras supposed, according to a modification 
of it which was kept secret, were made in large numbers at 
Birmingham under Dr. Norris's direction. They were perhaps 
the first dry-plates introduced into commerce, and were large- 
ly used between 1856 and 1866. They appear to have had 
many good qualities, and to have been nearly as rapid as wet 
plates. A. J. Melhuish writes : * " Having used during the 
last year or two nearly 2,000 of Dr. Norris' dry gelatine plates, 
I liave never had one negative sj^oiled, and but two or three af- 
fected by blistering." It is believed that Dr. Norris discov- 
ered the superior sensitiveness of bromide over iodide of silver 
and that it was bromide of silver which was used in the " Nor- 
ris" dry-plates. 

The Resin Process. — About the year 1856 the Abbe Des- 
prats recommended the introduction of a little resin into the 
collodion. The glass plates were coated with this resinized 
collodion, which was then sensitized, and finally well washed 
and dried. Such plates were found to keep well, but the resin 
soon caused the silver bath to get out of order. Its use- 
ful action on the plate was due to the fact that, being in 
an extremely fine state of division, it kept the collodion 
open, and facilitated the entrance of the developer into its 
pores. 

The Tannin Process. — In 1861, Major C. Russell published 
a small book containing an account of the researches which he 
had then pursued for nearly five years in dry-plate photog- 
raphy. A second edition appeared in 1863, and an appendix 
in 1865. It had been known for some time that a wash of 
gallic or pyrogallic acid over the collodion before drying it, 

* Journal Photographic Society of London, January, 1860. 



52 A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 

imparted keeping powers and sensitiveness to drj-plates. 
Russell found that the substance from which these acids were 
prepared — tannin — was preferable even to them. The pro- 
cess at first published was as follows: "Coat the plate with 
collodion, and sensitize it as usual ; then wash well ; now pom- 
over the surface a solution of tannin, fifteen grains to the 
ounce of water ; lastly, drain and dry." 

The Gum-Gallic Process. — The ingredients from which 
this process derives its name were used by Hardwich in the 
preparation of dry-plates as early as 1860; but the process 
with which Mr. Russell Manners Gordon obtained such excel- 
lent results was entirely of his own working out, and was first 
published in the "Photographic News Year-Book" for 1868. 
The plate was edged with albumen, coated with iodized collo- 
dion, and immersed in the nitrate bath for ten minutes. It 
was then w^ell washed and flowed over with a solution contain- 
ing gum arable, sugar candy and gallic acid ; the plate being 
then drained and dried. The exposure required was from 
four to twenty times that of a wet-plate. 

The Albumen Beer-Process. — The early dry-plate workers 
used to joke each other on a certain " gin-and-water " process, 
the defect of which was said to be that the liquid would not 
"keep." Sherry was actually employed with success, while 
beer was found to be a capital preservative. In 1874, Capt. 
Abney devised the " albumen-beer process," which was suc- 
cessfully used in that year by the exjDeditions sent out to study 
the transit of Yenus. He used a very porous collodion, w^hich 
was poured on the glass plates, then sensitized by immersion 
in a bath of silver nitrate, and flowed over with a mixture of 
albumen and (flat) beer. The plate was drained, and then a 
second mixture, composed of beer with a little pyrogallic acid, 
was poured over it. It was then dried in the ordinary manner, 
and was ready for use. 

Backing for Dry-Plates. — Dry-plates prepared by the 
methods we have now described were usually translucent, 
the light passing freely through the film and being (in part) 
reflected from the glass behind, thus producing halation. To 
remedy this, it was usual to " back " the plates with a mixture 
of burnt sienna and gum-water, or some similar opaque com- 



A HISTORY OF PHOTOGKAPHY 



53 



pound.- Tliis " backing " was washed off prior to develop- 
ment. At a later date, pieces of black tissue rubbed over with 
glycerine were placed on the back of the plate for the same 
purpose, and this is a plan which might still be adopted with 
profit where the chances of halation are great. 




54 A HISTORY OF PHOTOGEAPHT. 



CHAPTER YII. 

COLLODION EMULSION. 

What is an Emulsion f — The term emulsion is applied to a 
liquid wliicli liolds in suspension a large number of particles of 
some solid body. 

Milk may be considered as the type of an emulsion — the 
word itself being derived from the Latin emulgere, to milk out 
— since it consists mainly of water in which are suspended in- 
numerable minute particles of fat (cream). The white color 
of milk, and of most emulsions, is due to the reflection of light 
from these solid particles. 

Early Wor-kers with Emulsions. — Very soon after the dis- 
covery of the wet collodion process, it was seen how advantage- 
ous it would be if the "bath" of silver nitrate could be dis- 
pensed with. In August, 1853, M. A. Gaudin, a French pho- 
tographer, whose work has hardly received proper recognition, 
stated in the pages of La Lumiere, that " the whole future of 
photography seemed to require a sensitive collodion, which 
could be preserved in a flask and poured, when required, 
upon glass or paper ; and by the use of which, either at once, 
or after the lapse of time, positive or negative pictures could 
be obtained." 

This idea must have occurred to many minds ; in Septem- 
ber, 1861, a London photographer named Bellini, announced^ 
a process for coating glass with a solution of shellac contain- 
ing iodide, bromide, and lactate of silver ; " all that is necessary 
is to coat a plate with this preparation and expose it in the 
camera." This process was not a workable one ; but next year 
Captain Dixon and Mr. Samuel Fry attempted to form a com- 
pany to work a method by which " a preparation is poured 
upon the plate, whereby an even, homogeneous film is pro- 

* Photographic News, page 250. 



A HISTORY OF PHOTOGEAPHY. 55 

duced, which is sensitive to light." The then editor of the 
Photogra])hic News justly remarked that " we conceive it to 
be very possible that the germ of a considerable modifi- 
cation or revolution in the ordinary negative process may 
spring from this discoveiy."* From Dixon's patent it appears 
that he simply added nitrate of silver, dissolved in alcohol, to 
ordinary iodized collodion. His first results — which appear to 
have been comparatively accidental — were his best ; and he did 
not work out the method so as to arrive at any definite 
formula. 

In the same year Gaudin published in La Lumiere his 
method of preparing photogene, a name which he ap- 
plied to "any sensitive compound containing iodide of 
silver with excess of free nitrate of silver." He writes: 
"I prepare the collodion photogene by dissolving nitrate 
of silver in hot alcohol with a few drops of water, and 
adding this to collodion ; the mixture must be well shaken, and 
while shaking add from time to time a few drops of iodized 
collodion." The photogene so prepared was poured upon glaes 
or paper, and was ready for use at once. But Gaudin found, 
that " upon glass the image develops very feebly and super- 
ficially. The photogene is almost impenetrable to developing 
agents ; and this is unfortunate, because, but for that, it would 
realize the long-sought-f or dry collodion." The fact is, although 
Gaudin did not know it, that silver iodide alone does not form 
a good emulsion unless special precautions are taken ; it clots 
too rapidly and sinks to the bottom of the collodion. 

Sayce and Bolton's Collodion Emulsion Process. — It was 
on September 9th, 1861, that Messrs. B. J. Sayce and W. B. 
Bolton, of Liverpool, published f an account of a process 
which they had then but just devised. They added nitrate of 
silver to a bromized collodion, thereby forming bromide of 
silver in the collodion. Plates were coated with this liquid, and 
then flowed over with tannin, after which they were dried. 
Improvements, mostly by the authors of the process, quickly 
followed. The amount of silver was increased, and the pre- 



* Photographic News, April, 1861, p. 
f Bt itish Journal of Photography. 



56 A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 

servative (the tannin) was mixed with the emulsion instead of 
being added afterwards. From this time we find the words 
" organifier," or " sensitizer," more frequently used than " pre- 
servative," for such substances as tannin, etc. Mr. Sayce, the 
elder and more experienced of the two workers, retired in 
1865 from the practice of photography ; but his coadjutor, 
Mr. Bolton, continued to introduce valuable improvements ; 
thus, in November, 1865, he pointed out the advantages of a 
small excess of nitrate in the collodion emulsion. 

In April, 1870, a well-known American worker, Mr. Carey 
Lea, recommended the addition of a few drops of aqua regia 
to the emulsion, the result being that the plates no longer fog- 
ged, a defect to which they had previously been liable, espe- 
cially when a high degree of sensitiveness was aimed at. Capt. 
Abney has since shown that this introduction of a mineral 
acid into the emulsion prevents the formation of, or destroys 
when formed, any oxide or sub-bromide of silver, substances 
which would inevitably produce fog on the application of the 
developer. 

Many other workers, among whom we may name Col. 
Stuart- Wortley and Messrs. George Dawson, T. Sutton, W. J. 
Stillman, J. W. Gough and H. Cooper, added their mites ; 
and an unfortunate paper war was carried on as to the resj)ec- 
tive claims of B. J. Sayce and W. B. Bolton to be considered 
the sole, or at all events the principal originator of the pro- 
cess. As the first announcement of the collodion emulsion 
process was signed by both, it surely ought to be a case of 
" honors divided." 

The Washed Collodion Emulsion Process. — During the 
first ten years after the introduction of collodion emulsion, the 
excess of soluble salts was removed by washing the emulsion 
after it had been poured upon the glass plates. It is true that 
in 1871 Sutton proposed the use of a "corrected" emulsion, 
in which the proportions of the bromide and the nitrate were 
so adjusted as to leave neither in excess, but the practical difii- 
culty of securing this result led to the universal practice of 
washing the plates after the emulsion had been poured on them. 

On Jannarv 16th, 1874, Mr. W. B. Bolton showed* that the 

* In the British Journal of Photography. 



A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 57 

emulsion iniglit be washed hefore coating the plates. A collo- 
dion emulsion was made in the usual way, and it w^as then 
poured into a shallow dish. Here the ether and alcohol soon 
evaporated, leaving a semi-solid mass behind, which w^as cut up 
into pieces and well washed until all the soluble salts were re- 
moved. This pellicle was then dried and afterwards redis- 
solved in ether and alcohol, the final result being an ernulsion 
of the pure silver salt in collodion, uncontaminated by the 
presence of any other substance. Such an emulsion could be 
kept in bottles for years, and when required for use it was only 
necessary to melt the emulsion by placing the bottle containing 
it in hot water, and then to coat the plates and dry them. A 
" preservative," usually tannin, might be added to the emul- 
sion, or the plates might be flowed over with it after coating 
and before drying. By this process Gaudin's ideal was at- 
tained, and from 1874 to 1880 the " washed collodion emulsion 
process " found many friends and admirers. 

The Beechey Dry-Plates. — In the British Journal of 
Photography for October 1st, 1875, an English clergyman, the 
Kev. Canon Beechey, described what has been considered by 
many as the " simplest, easiest, and most uniform preparation 
of collodion dry-plates"; a fuller account appeared in the 
" British Journal Photographic Almanac " for 1879. A 
collodio-bromide emulsion was made in the ordinary way, a 
few drops of hydrochloric acid being added to produce a little 
chloride of silver also. 

The plates, after being coated, were soaked for a few minutes 
in flat bitter beer to which pyrogallic acid had been added 
(thirty grains to one and a half pints), which acted as a " pre- 
servative." 

Emulsion and dry-plates prepared in this way became an 
article of commerce ; and, indeed, Messrs. Rouch still sell 
'• Beechey Dry -Plates " at half-a-crown per dozen, for making- 
lantern transparencies. For landscape work, an exposure of 
about one minute with a medium stop was necessary with 
these Beechey plates. 



58 A HISTOEY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 



CHAPTEK YIII. 

GELATINE E31ULSI0N WITH BR03IIDE OF SILVER. 

Nature and Manufacture of Gelatine.* — Gelatine is an 
amorphous, brittle, nearly transparent, faintly yellow, tasteless 
and inodorous animal substance. It is obtained from the hides 
of oxen, skins of calves, spongy parts of horns, etc. Bones, 
when boiled, yield one-third their "weight of solid gelatine. 
Isinglass — or fish-glue — is a form of gelatine obtained from 
the swimming-bladder of the sturgeon. Ordinary glue is an 
impure form of gelatine ; but fairly pm-e gelatine, such as is 
used in the making of jellies, etc., was not manufactured until 
the beginning of the present century. In 1844, Cox, of Gor- 
gie, near Edinburgh, patented an improved method of making 
gelatine ; and somewhat later Xelson, of Leamington, Eng- 
land, introduced steam as an agent for softening and dissolving 
this substance. In 1872 I^elson began to make a specially 
pure "photographic gelatine," which has ever since been 
largely used. Foreign makers of repute at the present time are 
Coignet, of Paris ; Heinrich and Drescher, in Germany, and 
the "Winterthur" gelatine, of Switzerland. The maker of 
gelatine uses largely the parings and cuttings of hides from 
the tan-yard, ears of oxen and sheep, skins of rabbits, hares, 
dogs, cats, etc., old gloves, parchment, etc. These are steeped 
in hme-water, washed, and then bleached with sulphurous 
acid, and washed again. The gelatine is then extracted by 
means of steam, and run on marble slabs to set. It is next cut 
lip and washed, redissolved, and, lastly, dried in thin sheets on 
nets. In the cutting it is the practice of some workmen to 
lubricate the knives ; but this ought to be rigorously avoided, 
if the gelatine is to be used for photographic purposes, since the 

* See Davidowsky's "Practical Treatise on Glue, Gelatine, etc. ," 8vo, 
297 pp. ; illustrated. Baird & Co., Philadelphia. 



A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 59 

fatty matter thus introduced causes "pits" or spots in the 
plates. 

Gelatine is, without doubt, a " sensitizer." If we remove 
silver bromide from one-half of a gelatine emulsion and mix 
it with collodion, the collodion emulsion will not be nearly so 
sensitive to light as the remaining gelatine enjulsion ; the pre- 
cise cause of this sensitizing action is not certainly known. 
For one thing, the gelatine wraps round and grips firmly every 
particle of silver bromide, thus allowing us to use a stronger 
developer without danger of fogging the plate than we can do 
in the case of collodion. But it has also been shown by the 
German chemist, Knopp, that gelatine is capable of combining 
with bromine, and it thus assists the action of light in decom- 
posing the silver bromide by attracting and uniting with the 
bromine given off from the silver salt under the action of 
light. 

Gelatine is insoluble in cold water, in which, however, it 
swells considerably, increasing in weight. The jelly so formed 
liquefies immediately when its temperature is raised to about 
100 deg. F. 

Early Workers with Gelatine. — The introduction of gela- 
tine, as a means whereby the sensitive salts of silver could be 
retained upon a plane surface of glass or paper, followed 
quickly upon the publication of the " albumen-on-glass " pro- 
cess, discovered by NiejDce de St. Victor, in 1848. In Gustave 
Le Gray's book — translated into English in 1850 — he mentions 
the use of gelatine for such a purpose, the support being coated 
with iodized gelatine, dried, and then sensitized by immersion 
in a bath of silver nitrate in the same way as collodion. The 
gelatine, however, was found to swell or even dissolve in the 
silver bath. In Germany, Dr. Halleur obtained beautiful 
images on similarly prepared plates, but they quickly disap- 
peared, a result probably due to the acetic acid (in which gela- 
tine is soluble), then used as an ingredient of the developer. 

In 1854, "E. R., of Tavistock," published * full and clear 
directions for the use of " Swinburne's patent isinglass " (a 
variety of gelatine) as a substitute for collodion, the exposure 

'■''Photographic yotirnal, vol. i., p. 206. 



60 A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 

required being tliirty-five seconds with a diaphragm or " stop " 
whose aperture was one twenty-fourth of tlie focal length of 
the lens employed. 

In 1861, Gaiidin used gelatine as one of the substances with 
which he prepared his " photogene'- — the forerunner of emul- 
sion photography. 

Poitevin, who had long used gelatine in his printing process, 
showed, in 1862, how "dry-plates with the bath" could be 
prepared with it. A curious feature of this method was that 
bichromate of potash was mixed with the gelatine, after which 
the plates, coated w4th the mixture, were exposed to light ; 
" then the bichromate reacts upon the gelatine, and prevents 
it from creasing * in the water during the subsequent opera- 
tions." 

In 1865, W. H, Smith took out a patent for impregnating 
the surfaces of wood, canvas, silk, glass, etc., with some resin- 
ous solution which would fill up the pores, and then coating 
the prepared surface with " collodion or gelatine, or any gela- 
tinous substance — mixed with spirits of wine and nitrate of 
silver, the nitrate of silver being mixed with a chloride, a bro- 
mide or an iodide. After exposure in the camera a toning 
solution is employed." 

An Early Experiment with Gelatino- Bromide. — In Janu- 
ary, 1868, Mr. W. H. Harrison wrote a short article on "The 
Philosophy of Dry-Plates," f in which he starts by asking a 
question that we have not yet been able to fully answer : 
" Why should one organic solution give a rapid plate, and an- 
other a slow one ?" In experimenting on this subject he made 
a very weak solution of gelatine in which a " little bromide 
and iodide of cadmium were dissolved, after which some nitrate 
of silver was added in the dark. In fact, I wanted to have a 
solution which would give a good dry-plate, by simply coating 
a sheet of glass with it." Plates coated with this emulsion 
were dried and exposed in the camera, and then developed by 
the alkaline method. " The picture came out very rapidly, 
and was of great intensity, but the rough and uneven surface 



**Ox, as we should say, " frilling." 

\ British Journal of Photography, January 17th, 1868. 



A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 61 

of the film made it worthless." When a stronger solution of 
gelatine was used, no pictures could be obtained, a result pos- 
sibly due to the weakness of the developer then used. This 
article of Mr. Harrison's appears not to have been noticed by 
writers on the discovery of the gelatino-bromide process, of 
which it really contains the germ. 

Thomas Sutton has a Theory. — From 1855 to 18Y0 there 
were few more active among the workers and writers on pho- 
tography than Thomas Sutton. He was rather too fond of 
theorizing, and was apt to believe that, because he could trace 
out the steps of a process in his " mind's eye," it must, there- 
fore, be a practical success. Still, the following remarks, tak- 
en from one of his contributions to the British Journal of 
Photography,^ show that his ideas upon gelatine emulsion 
were in advance of the time. " There is something very in- 
genious and promising in M. Gaudin's gelatine emulsion. 
Used with bromide of silver instead of iodide, it might turn 
out something grand. The objection to collodion is that, 
when it is allowed to get dry upon the plate without having 
been wetted, it dries to an almost impenetrable skin, which 
the developer has scarcely any power of entering, so that the 
image is thin and superficial. This would not occur with a 
gelatine film. There do not seem to be any difficulties in 
spreading it as there are in spreading albumen, for it is ap- 
plied hot, and quickly sets. Oxide of zinc gives a structure- 
less and homogeneous film when made into an emulsion with 
gelatine ; bromide of silver ought to do the same. A gelatino- 
bromide emulsion, slightly alkaline, would be exquisitely sen- 
sitive without any free nitrate ; and tannin, with the aid of 
the alkali in the film, would, no doubt, develop it, perhaps to 
sufficient density, without silver. A great advantage would 
be that the film could be composed of a capital organifier 
through its entire substance, instead of having a mere layer of 
organifier upon the surface. The process is well worth try- 
ing ; it seems to be right in theory throughout." 

Sutton then goes on to describe Gaudin's gelatino-iodide 
process, after which comes the following paragraph which 

* July 14th, 1881. 



62 A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 

reads, to us, amusingly enough : " A tourist, employing the 
above process, would have his bromide of silver emulsion ready 
made in a semi-solid state, resembling hlanc-mange ; he would 
melt it by putting the bottle containing it into boiling water ; 
he would then coat his plates at night for the next day, and 
put them at once into the plate-box to get dry. No washing 
of the plates would be required, and that is one grand feature 
of the process. The next morning he would hang a yellow 
curtain before his window, and put them into the dark-slides, 
developing them at night. He would have no dangerous, ex- 
plosive, strong-smelling, unhealthy collodion to carry about 
with him on his travels, and he might pack in a very small 
compass enough chemicals in a dry state to last him for a tour 
round the world. What a blessing it would be to be indepen- 
dent of collodion, and at the same time not to have to trust to 
the keeping qualities of dry-plates ! 

" It may turn out that I have done well in digging up this 
old process of M. Alexis Gaudin, whose name be exalted as 
the author of collodion emulsions and photogenes ! " 

Sutton died shortly after writing the above note, but we can 
imagine how enthusiastically he would have welcomed the ful- 
fillment of all his hopes — and more, in our modern gelatino- 
bromide plates which will " keep," and whose exquisite sen- 
sitiveness is beyond everything that even he imagined. 

Dr. It, L. Maddox makes Gelatino-Brotnide of Silver 
Emulsion. — In the autumn of 1871, Dr. Maddox — so well 
known for his work in photo-micrography — published in the 
British Journal of Photography'^ ^'^ An Experiment with 
Gelatino-bromide." Thirty grains of gelatine were swelled in 
cold water, and then dissolved by heat, four drams of pure 
water and two drops of aqua regia being added. 

To this solution eight grains of cadmium bromide and fif- 
teen grains of silver nitrate were added, forming a fine milky 
emulsion of silver bromide. Without further treatment this 
was spread upon glass plates and dried. The plates were 
tested by exposing them beneath negatives, and gave a faint 
but clear image when developed with a plain solution of pyro- 

* Septerrber 8th, 1871, p. 422. 



A HISTORY OF PHOTOGEAPHY. 63 

gallic acid ; intensification with pyi'o and nitrate of silver 
followed. 

Plates fumed with ammonia fogged when treated with pyro. 
gallic acid. The gelatine emulsion was also used to coat 
paper with very fair results. In conclusion, Dr. Maddox 
writes : " As there will be no chance of my being able to con- 
tinue these experiments, they are placed in their crude state 
before the readers of the Journal^ and may eventually receive 
correction and improvement under abler hands. So far as can 
be judged, the process seems quite worth more carefully con- 
ducted experiments, and, if found advantageous, adds another 
handle to the photographer's wheel." 

With our present knowledge it is easy to see why Dr. Mad- 
dox did not obtain complete success. His emulsion would 
contain, in addition to the silver bromide, silver nitrate, so- 
dium nitrate and nitric acid (from the aqua regia). The 
presence of the free silver nitrate was the reason why it was 
possible to develop the plates with plain pyrogallic acid ; while 
the nitric acid acted as a restrainer, and caused the plates to be 
very slow. By fuming with ammonia the nitric acid was 
neutralized, but the plates then fogged, because the free silver 
nitrate was reduced all over the plate by the developer in the 
absence of any restrainer. 




64 A HISTORY OF PHOTOGKAPHY, 



CHAPTEE IX. 

INTRODUCTCON OF GELATINO-BKOMIDE EMULSION AS AN ARTICLE OF COM- 
MERCE BY BURGESS AND BY KENNETT. 



Advertises Gelatine Emulsion in 1873. — We have 
now seen that, between 1868 and 1871, three men — Harrison, 
Sutton and Maddox — had clearly recognized the j)Ossihilities 
of gelathio-bromide emulsion ; while two of them — Harrison 
and Maddox — had actually prepared such an emulsion, with — 
for a first experiment — a marked degree of success. None of 
these three men, liowever, followed up their work, and it 
seems to have attracted little or no notice. 

At least one worker, however, took the hint, and in the 
pages of the English trade journals for July, 1873,* the fol- 
lowing advertisement apj)eared : 

"Mr. J. Burgess begs to announce that as the result of in- 
num.erable experiments he has made an important photo- 
graphic discovery^ which enables him to prepare dry-plates 
equal in sensitiveness and superior in many respects to the best 
wet-plates, and that by simply pouring an emulsion (prepared 
by an entirely new and original method) on the glass and al- 
lowing it to dry without any washing or the application of any 
preservative ; thus saving an immense amount of trouble and 
expense, and what is more important still, securing films of 
absolute uniformity, of good keeping qualities, and up to the 
highest standard of excellence. 

" In order that any one may test the truth of the above 
statement, a four-ounce bottle of the emulsion, sufficient to coat 
four or five dozen quarter plates, will be sent, post free, for 3s. ; 
and when the new method has been thoroughly tested, if the 
subscribers are willing to pay one guinea each, a pamphlet will 
be printed giving an account of the experiments which have 

* The exact date is July 18th, 1873. 



A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 65 

been tried, and the formula by which the results above de- 
scribed have been realized. Address Mr. J, Burgess, Artist, 
207 Queen's Road, Peckham (London)." 

Mr. Burgess did not publish, or make kno\vn in any way 
the details of his process, and unfortunately it did not prove a 
commercial success. But the following quotations from an 
editorial article * will show its real nature — it was without 
doubt a gelatin o-bromide emulsion : 

" We obtained samples and have given the process a trial. 
Instead of collodion a colloidal substance, without doubt gela- 
tine, is used ; and the sensitive material, which we assume to 
he bromide of silver, is introduced in such a way as to necessi- 
tate no washing. The method of preparing a plate is extremely 
simple. The emulsion, after being slightly warmed, is merely 
poured upon the glass and allowed to dry, and — that is all. 
In exposing, we adhered to the instructions given, viz. : that 
the exposure should be precisely the same as for a wet collo- 
dion plate. On the application of the developer (alkaline 
pyro), the picture rapidly made its appearance, every detail 
being visible." 

In the next number of the same periodical, the gentleman 
who wrote under the title of "A Peripatetic Photographer," 
made the following remarks : 

*' It appears that a new negative emulsion process has been 
discovered by Mr. Burgess, in which collodion is displaced by 
gelatine. This is undoubtedly a very great variation in the 
existing state of emulsion matters, and at first sight it seems to 
be an improvement. One has heard so much about the vexed 
questions in collodion emulsions, the difficulty of getting the 
right kind of pyroxyline, and the impossibihty of succeeding 
unless it be obtained ; the difficulty of determining whether a 
little silver or a little bromide is the correct thing to have in 
excess ; whether the organiiier or preservative should consist 
of gum, tea, cofiee, tannin, salicine, cochineal, or gallic acid, 
and so forth ; that one is glad to try a process in which pyrox- 
yline is not, in which there is neither free bromide or free 
nitrate, but only the emulsified bromide of silver, and in which 

* British Journal of Photography, July 25th, 1873. 



bb A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 

preservatives and organiliers are rendered of no avail because 
the whole substance of the film itself is organic. . . . The 
simplicity of the Burgess process is a charming feature. The 
emulsion is poured over the clean glass plate and, when dry, 
it is fit for use. There is no substratum, no washing, and no 
preservative ; while over and above all, the sensitiveness is said 
to be equal to that of wet collodion, which if true, means that 
plates prepared by the gelatino-bromide process may be used 
in the studio for the purposes of every-day portraiture." 

The objections at this time to the introduction of gelatine 
emulsion were the "necessity for liquefying the gelatine before 
it could be used ; the equal necessity for laying down each plate 
in a carefully level position until the film set, and the long time 
the film took to dry." 

In a letter from Mr. Burgess himself* he states that " the 
weak point of the gelatino-bromide emulsion is its liability to 
decompose, as I have found out to my cost lately. In a moder- 
ate temperature it will keep for weeks ; but in spite of all the 
antiseptics I am acquainted with, it will ferment if the ther- 
mometer rises above 70 deg. Fahr. I have, therefore, deter- 
mined to confine myself to the making of diy-plates, which 
will keep any time." 

In accordance with this resolve, the first advertisement of 
"gelatino-bromide dry-plates" appeared on August 29th, 1873, 
the price being half a crown per dozen for quarter plates. 

But the time was not ripe for so great a revolution ; Bur- 
gess's process was not — could hardly be — perfect, and the result 
was a lack of commercial success which meant — for the time — 
failure. But Mr. Burgess never abandoned his belief in gela- 
tine, and in 1880 he wrote, for Messrs. W. T. Morgan & Co., of 
Greenwich, an anonymous pamphlet, " The Argentic Gela- 
tino-Bromide Worker s Guide," which was the first book de- 
voted wholly to that subject. 

Removal of Extraneous Substances from the Gelatine Emul- 
sion. — In the autumn of 1873, a writer who took for his nom 
de plume " Ostendo non Ostento," contributed a formula (the 
first which contains alcohol), for the preparation of gelatine 

* British Journal of Photography, August 15th, 1873. 



A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 67 

emulsion to the pages of tlie British Journal of Photogra])hy^^ 
which was the first formula published since that of Dr. Mad- 
dox in 1871. But neither of these workers stated the ne- 
cessity for the removal from the emulsion of the extraneous 
salts formed by the combination of the chemicals employed. 

The first photographer to point out publiclyf the need for 
the removal of all soluble matter from the emulsion was Mr. J. 
King, of tlie Bombay Civil Service, who dialyzed his emulsion, 
i. (?., placed it in a vessel with a bottom of vegetable parchment 
or bladder ; the whole being half immersed in a large vessel of 
pure water. Under sucli circumstances the soluble salts con- 
tained in the emulsion pass outwards through the parchment, 
etc., to mingle with the water. This process was well known 
to chemists, but it had not before been employed in photography. 
The editor adds : " The negatives sent by Mr. King, illustra- 
tive of his paper, are singularly faultless." 

Curiously enough we find side by side with King's communi- 
cation, a short letter from J. Johnston, in which two very im- 
portant points are included. The first of these is a direction 
to use an excess of the cadmium or other soluble bromide in 
making the emulsion (previous workers had used an excess of 
silver nitrate), and the second to " let it stand till cold, cut in 
slices with a piece of thin glass, and wash in distilled water to 
remove the excess of bromide." This way of washing, or a 
modification of it, has ever since been employed ; it is far 
simpler and more effective than dialysis. 

KenneWs Pellicle. — Burgess's experiments with gelatine 
emulsion caused Mr. R. Kennett, an amateur residing in Mad- 
dock Street, London, to again turn his attention to the subject 
(it seems that he had experimented with gelatine some years 
previously). To remedy the grave defect experienced by 
Burgess, viz., that the finished emulsion would not "keep,"' 
Kennett took out the following patent in November, 1873 : 
"Abridgment of Specification of Patent: 
" A. D. 1873, November 20, No. 3782. 

" A 'substance to be used instead of collodion and other emulsions for 
photographic purposes.' 

* October 3d. 1873. 

f British Journal of Photography, November 14th, 1873. 



68 A HISTORY OF PHOTOGKAPHY. 

" This substance is produced, for use, in a dry or solid condition, and 
will keep good for any length of time. 

"The compound essentially consists of an aqueous solution of gelatine, 
together with a bromide, chloride, or iodide ; and nitrate of silver. 

" The compound is cleared of certain salts, which are formed during the 
mixing, and then dried. These processes must be conducted in non-actinic 
light. 

" The bromides, chlorides or iodides that may be used are those of potas- 
sium, cadmium or ammonium. When the compound is mixed and 
thoroughly incorporated, it contains a free bromide and nitrate of potash ; 
these are removed or eliminated by pouring the compound into a dish, letting 
it cool, and cutting into small strips which are washed with many changes 
of water until all the free salts are dissolved out. The subsequent drying 
process is accomplished by heating the compound in flat dishes, until it is 
reduced to a thick paste. When cold, it is stripped from the dishes and 
placed in suitable frames in a drying-closet in which a circulation of dry 
air is maintained." 

It will be noticed that Kenuett's patent is not, as has been 
stated, for the whole process of gelatino-bromide emulsion 
making, that had been previously published and could not be 
patented, but for a method of lyreserving such an emulsion in 
a dry and solid state. To the dried emulsion prepai-ed accord- 
ing to the patent, Kennett applied the name of pellicle ; when 
required for use it was only necessary to dissolve this pellicle 
in water and coat the glass plates with it. 

The following contemporary advertisements are interesting : 

"Notice, — R. Kennett is now issuing his patent sensitized gelatino- 
pellicle, in packets containing sufficient to make two, four or six ounces 
of emulsion, with full instructions for use at the following prices : One, 
two, and three shillings."* 

A complaint against this pellicle was that it gave very thin 
images, so that we find in a somewhat later advertisement the 
following addition . 

"A special pellicle for obtaining extra density at Is. 6d., 3s. and 
4s. 6d." 

At a later date Kennett prepared plates for sale as well as 
pellicle, and in April, 1876, his advertisement runs : 

" R. K. is now prepared with his rapid pellicle plates to photograph in- 
teriors of mines, caverns, or any other subject that has hitherto been an 
impossibility with any other process, wet or dry R. K.'s 

* From the trade journals for March, 1874. 



A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 69 

latest improvement in his plates admits of greater latitude of exposure, 
gives more density and brighter shadows, without in the least interfering 
with their now universally acknowledged wonderful and unprecedented 
rapidity." 

During the years 1874—77 Kennett tried hard to introduce 
his gelatine pellicle and dry-plates. But photographers seem 
then to have been a terribly conservative body, and hard to 
move, and he failed in his endeavor to introduce these articles 
into general practice. The following note from an amateur of 
the first rank, the Kev. II, J. Palmer, will, however, give 
some idea of their capabilities : * 

" As regards exposure, it should be borne in mind that Ken- 
nett's rapid pellicle and plates are, with good light, really in- 
stantaneous. Nothing can surpass the cloud, wave, and street 
views taken with this preparation; and for babies' portraits it 
is simply perfection itself. The ordinary pellicle is much 
slower, .... requiring rather more than half the ex- 
posure requisite for a wet-plate." 

But at that time all was in vain. The very rapidity of the 
Kennett plates was one cause of their commercial failure. The 
workers of ten or twelve years back could not, generally speak- 
ing, be brought to believe that a dry-plate could possibly be 
more rapid than the collodion wet-plates which they were so 
accustomed to manipulate ; and Kennett complained bitterly 
that the purchasers of his emulsion would over-expose im- 
mensely, and then blame the plates for fog and for yielding 
thin images. Moreover, the amount of yellow light by which 
the dark-rooms were then illuminated was in most cases of it- 
self sufficient to " fog " these sensitive gelatine plates. 

Processes Worked In 1877. — At the excellent exhibition of 
photographs held in Edinburgh, under the auspices of the 
local photographic society in 1876-77, there were 719 pictures 
from negatives taken by the wet process, as against 105 dry- 
plate pictures. 

The latter were by the following processes : 

Fothergill 15 

Gum-gallic 8 

Collodio-albumen 32 

* British Joutnal of Photography, March 10th, 1876. 



70 A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 

"Dry-plates" 20 

Warnerke's tissue 3 

Beer and albumen 15 

Coffee 9 

Emulsion 13 

Whether any of the "emulsion" plates were gelatino- 
bromide we do not know ; but in any case this summary of 
the pictures contributed to one of the most popular exhibitions 
ever held, shows that up to that time, only some ten years ago, 
the gelatine process was practically not used at all. 

Other Pioneers of Oelatino-Bromide. — The pages of the 
English trade journals from 1873 to 1877 contain many useful 
suggestions and improvements from one or other of a race of 
experimentalists which then flourished, a race which appears, 
alas ! to be dying out. 

In December, 1873, E. W. Foxlee pointed out the value of 
alcohol as a preservative in gelatine emulsion, showing that it 
enabled gelatinous solutions to be kept for a long time without 
undergoing decomposition ; its use also caused the plates to set 
and dry more rapidly. 

Mr. F. Wratten, in August, 1877, showed that the gelatine 
along with the silver bromide could be precipitated by adding 
alcohol to the solution containing it, leaving behind in the 
water all the soluble salts. By this method the necessity for 
dialysis or washing could be obviated. 

In the "British Journal Almanac" for 1871, Mr. W. B. 
Bolton showed how to form the emulsion in a stnall portion of 
the gelatine only, the remainder being added at the close of 
the operation. In this way the retarding action of the viscid 
gelatine was avoided. At a later period this method was 
found very useful. 

Of other workers about this time (1873-77) we can only 
name Messrs. P. Mawdsley, H. B. Berkeley, J. W. Gough, 
Col. Stuart Wortley, and the anonymous contributors, " Ama- 
teur," " Franklin,"'" F. S. K.," and " L. S. D." 



A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. Tl 



CHAPTER X. 

GELATINE DISPLACES COLLODION, 

Mesearches of Stas. — M. J. S. Stas, tlie famous Belgian 
chemist, publislied in 1874* certain "Researches on Chloride 
and Bromide of Silver," in which he pointed out that the lat- 
ter substance can exist in at least six well-marked physical 
states, each state having properties peculiar to itself. These 
researches by Stas contain the key to our present system of 
obtaining that exquisite sensitiveness to light in bromide of 
silver which has of late years effected a practical revolution in 
photography. But in 1874 the discovery passed unnoticed. 
Stas was no photographer ; and if any photographer studied 
his paper — which is doubtful — it did not strike him that here 
was the germ of a process which might surpass all that had 
gone before. The following translation includes the (to pho- 
tographers) most interesting portion of Stas's paper : 

" Modifications of Silver Bromide. — This bromide assumes a large num- 
ber of physical states of different appearance : 

(1.) The white flaky state. } 

(2.) The yellow flaky state. S 

(3.) An intense-yellow powdery state. ) 

(4.) A pearly-white powdery state. \ 

(5.) A yellowish-white granular state. 

(6.) A pure intense-yellow crystallized or melted state. 

" The white and yellow flaky forms (1 and 2) are produced by mixing 
cold aqueous solutions of any suitable silver salt with hydrobromic acid 
or some soluble bromide. 

" These two foitas may be converted into the powdery or pulverulent 
modifications (3 and 4) by shaking up well with water. When we pour 
either the flak)^ or the powdery bromide of silver into boiling water, it is 
changed instantly into a very fine powder, which is the granular bromide 
(No. 5). This may be produced directly, by adding to a boiling solution 
of silver nitrate (one part to 1,000 of water) a sufBcient quantity, also boil- 

* Annates de Chiniie. Fifth Series, vol. iii., p. 289. 



72 A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 

ing, of a very weak solution of ammonium bromide. The granular pow- 
der resulting from the breaking up of the flakes, is of a dull yellowish- 
white, while that which is produced by the transformation of the pulveru- 
lent variety, or which is formed with the aid of very weak solutions, is of 
a shining yellowish-white. Under the influence of a boiling prolonged for 
several days (the water being constantly replaced), the dull granular bro- 
mide is modified ; it becomes more and more divided to the point-of re- 
maining completely in suspension, and rendering the water white. The 
suspended bromide presents, in this case, a shining reflection, and is not 
deposited for a considerable length of time. Separated from the liquid it 
is of a pearly-white. The pearly bromide becomes a pure intense- yellow 
by contact with a concentrated solution of ammonium bromide. This 
change is, so to speak, instantaneous. 

'•The granular bromide, either dull or shining, and the pearly-white 
modification of it, resulting from the action of boiling water on the first 
two, are the most sensitive substances to light with which I am ac- 
quainted. 

" It is sufficient to boil them for two or three seconds in water over the 
flame of a Bunsen burner, burning with excess of air, to cause them to 
blacken. Because of this extreme liability to change, these experiments 
would not have been possible if they had not been carried on with excep- 
tional precautions. 

" Thus the production of the granular bromide, and its change into the 
pearly-white bromide, were effected in an apparatus which admitted no 
light. The manipulation of these bodies took place in the dark, and they 
were examined in a yellow or in a diffused light. 

"The pearly-white bromide passes by fusion into the pure intense- 
yellow state." 

Thus, thirteen years ago, Stas discovered and made known 
that "the most sensitive substance to light" could be obtained 
by the action of heat upon silver bromide. Yet his discovery 
fell on barren (photographic) ground, and it was not till 1879 
that Monckhoven showed how this work of Stas explained the 
results obtained by Bennett and others. 

Certainly every photographer ought to study chemistry. 

Bennett obtains Great Sensitiveness hy ^^ Stewing''^ the 
Einulsion. — The report of a meeting of the South London 
Photographic Society on March 7th, 1878, states that "a number 
of gelatine negatives were exhibited by Mr. Bennett, one of 
them being an interior of a room, taken by ordinary gaslight, 
the exposure being one hour" ; others .were "Boat scene on 
river, exposure by drop-shutter — say twentieth of a second," 
and "River scene, exposure four seconds," etc. The experts 
who examined these negatives considered them sufficiently 



A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. "73 

surprisino-, and a general appeal was made to Mr. Charles Ben- 
nett — an amateur photographer and member of the well-known 
firm of London hatters — to publish the process by which he 
had obtained such (for that time) marvelous results. It is 
greatly to Mr, Bennett's honor that he at once acceded to this 
request, and gave to the photographic world on March 29th, 
1878,* the details of a method which was destined to revolu- 
tionize our mode of working. When the process was studied, 
the essential point was seen to be the use of Jieat. The dif- 
ferent solutions were to be made at a temperature of 90 
degrees (Fahrenheit), and, after mixing, the temperature of 
the emulsion was to be maintained at 90 deg. (by placing the 
bottle containing it in a vessel of hot water) "for two, four or 
seven days, according to rapidity required." During this slow 
and long-continued heating, the silver bromide gradually as- 
sumed the "granular" state of Stas, and became exquisitely 
sensitive to light. Bennett says, " if washed after two days, 
the emulsion is rapid and dense ; in four days, more rapid and 
less dense — quick enough for any drop-shutter known ; with 
some that 1 kept for seven days, with drop-shutter and dull 
February morning, pebbles close to the camera were perfectly 
exposed. The negative was thin under ammonia, but bore in- 
tensifying to any extent." 

The commercial importance of Mr. Bennett's discovery was 
soon seen, and the trade journals for April of the same year 
contain advertisements from Peter Mawdsley, of the Liverpool 
Dry-Plate Company, of " Bennett Plates " at three shillings 
per dozen (^-plates), and from Messrs. Wratten & Wain right, 
of the " London Gelatine Dry-Plates and Pellicle," the latter 
firm at the same time offering collodion emulsion for sale, the 
two processes thus overlapping. 

Gelatine, however, now soon beat collodion out of the field, 
although the years 1878-80 must be considered years of transi- 
tion. 

Boiling the Emulsion. — Li a remarkable communication to 
the Photographic Soeipty of Great Britain in 1876,f Lieut.- 



* See British Journal of Photography. 

f Reprinted, British Journal of Photography, ]\xx\& 30th, 187 



74 A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 

Col. Stuart Wortlej describes the preparation of a gelatine 
emulsion at a temperature of 180 deg. Falir., adding, "yon 
will notice that I make a considerable alteration from any in- 
structions that have hitherto been given for the preparation of 
a gelatine emulsion, as I work at an exceedingly high tempera- 
ture with the object of forming my emulsion at once, instead 
of spreading the formation over many hours, as, I believe, 
other workers do. I get the most perfect films by this method 
of working, and I am certain that the above temperature has 
no injurious eflEect whatever on the gelatine." The only 
reason we can think of why Col. Wortley did not attain com- 
plete success with this method was that he did not maintain 
the high temperature for a sufficient length of time ; he says 
he allowed the bottle containing the emulsion to stand " for a 
quarter of an hour in the hot water," which would hardly be 
long enough at 180 degrees to permit the conversion of the 
bromide of silver into the sensitive "granular" molecular 
state. 

After general attention had been drawn to the gelatino-bro- 
mide process in the spring of 1878 by Bennett's remarkable 
work, it was soon found that the prolonged emulsification re- 
quired in his method — stewing for seven days at 90 deg. — 
was not only very tedious and troublesome, but that — more 
especially in summer — it produced other evils, especially the 
decomposition of a part or the whole of the gelatine. Bearing 
Stuart Wortley's experience in mind, it was not difficult to see 
that a possible remedy might be found in cooking, or digesting 
the gelatine for a shorter time, but at a much higher tempera- 
ture. This seems to have been done by several workers, but 
it was first publicly announced by Mr. Geo. Mansfield at a 
meeting of the Photographic Society of Ireland, in August, 
1879,* who " drew attention to the fact that the long and 
troublesome process of digestion might be obviated by forming 
the bromide of silver in a very weak solution of the gelatine, 
which was then hoiled for about ten minutes, the remainder of 
the complement of gelatine in the fomiHia being added when 
the first solution had cooled down to about 100 deg. F." 

* British Journal of Photography for August 22d, 1879. 



A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 75 

The other point here recommended — to emulsify the silver- 
bromide in a small portion of the gelatine only, the remainder 
being added after the cooking — was a repetition of the advice 
given by W. B. Bolton in 1874; it is the plan now generally 
adopted. 

In May, 18T9, Captain Abney, to nse his own words, 
" showed that a good emulsion might be formed by precipitat- 
ing sil\^er bromide by dropping a solution of a soluble bro- 
mide into a dilute solution of silver nitrate in water and glyce- 
rine. The supernatant liquid was decanted, and after two or 
three washings with water, the precipitate was mixed with the 
proper amount of gelatine." The object of this method was 
to save the trouble of washing the emulsion. 

In connection with this note, it is curious to turn back to a 
paper writteu by Thomas Sutton, in February, 18Y4,* where 
he writes : 

" Mix aqueous solutions of silver nitrate and potassium bro- 
mide. White silver bromide will be immediately formed and 
quickly precipitated. Wash the precipitate repeatedly in 
water in order to remove the potash nitrate, etc. . , . Mix 
the dry silver bromide with a little glycerine and add to it a 
hot solution of gelatine." 

It will be seen that the two methods are nearly identical. 
But, alas ! Sutton only asks " Why not do this?" He did not 
actually try the experiment, or he might perhaps have antici- 
pated Abney by five years. 

Researches of Monckhoven. — Dr. D. von Monckhoven, of 
Ghent, born 183-i, died 1883, was an excellent chemist and 
good " all-round " man of science, who devoted himself chiefly 
to the scientific side of photography. His " General Treatise 
on Photography" (1863), and "Photographic Optics" (1868), 
were leading books in their day, and are still useful. His solar 
enlarging apparatus (1864) is well known, and for many years 
he carried on a large business in Belgium for the manufacture 
of carbon tissue, and afterwards of dry-plates. 

We have seen that in the ordinary methods of preparing a 
gelatine emulsion, a great deal of washing is necessary in order 

* British Journal of Photography, February 13th, 1874. 



76 A HISTOEY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 

to remove the supertluoHS salts. When Monckhoven tried this 
plan he found that " the water of our good city of Ghent is so 
chalky — caused by the nature of the soil — that I was obliged 
to find some method of doing away with washing my emul- 
sions." The plan which he hit upon* was to mix with the 
fluid gelatine, first, carbonate of silver, and then hydrobromic 
acid, in the precise quantities in which they would combine 
chemically with one another. The result of their interaction was 
the formation of silver bromide (wliicli remained suspended in 
the gelatine), carbonic acid gas which escaped, and water which 
was harmless. 

Owing, however, to the practical difficulties of the process, 
which required a skilled chemist to carry it out successfully, 
and the expense of the ingredients, this method was never em- 
ployed commercially. 

Monckhoven uses Ammonia to Obtain a Sensitive Gelatine 
Emulsion without the Aid of Heat. — In the same paper in 
which Monckhoven published the method described above, he 
stated that he had obtained the sensitive green form of silver- 
bromide by the addition of ammonia, and without the aid of 
heat. In an admirable lecture, delivered in October, 18T9,t 
before the Belgian Photographic Association, after describing 
the formation of an emulsion in the ordinary way by the addi- 
tion of silver nitrate to a gelatinous solution of ammonium 
bromide, Monckhoven adds : " Now pour in the pure ammo- 
nia and shake up well the solution. The ammonia exercises 
quite a special action here ; its effect is to render the emulsion 
ready to be used in a few minutes ; or, if great sensitiveness 
be required, it can be obtained in a few hours instead of days, 
and thus decomposition of the gelatine is avoided." 

Some remarks in the same lecture on one of the most fre- 
quent causes of failure in out-door work are so valuable that 
we reproduce them also. " I am certain that I shall not make 
a great mistake in saying that scarcely one dark-slide of a cam- 
era protects the plate as it ought to do. Light enters, especially 

* Monckhoven's paper, read before the Photographic Society of France, 
in August, 1879, was reprinted in the British Journal of Photography for 
August 8th of the same year. 

f Reprinted British Journal of Photography, October 17th, 1879. 



A HISTORY OF PHOTOGEAPHY. YT 

when the shutter of the slide is pulled out to expose the plate. 
I have frequently proved this in the following manner : I liave 
exposed a plate in the camera without taking the cap off the 
lens; and in developing, the entire plate has been fogged. 
You must also make certain that light does not enter through 
the holes of the Waterhouse diaphragms ; nor round the ring 
upon which the lens is screwed.* I am accustomed in the open 
air to completely envelope my camera with a large focusing 
cloth, allowing only the lens to protrude. I even open the 
dark-slide under this cloth. . . . When I first began my 
experiments on gelatino-bromide, I could obtain nothing but 
fogged plates. I wrote to the maker, and he informed me 
that the cause of my failure was owing either to the red glass 
of my dark-room, or the state of my dark-slide. I reglazed 
my window with proper glass, and overhauled my dark-slides. 
As soon as I took these precautions I had no more trouble 
with fog." 

Monckhoven's " ammonia method " of preparing emulsion 
at once came into use commercially, and is employed by many 
manufacturers at the present day. Plates prepared in this 
way do not, however, retain their good qualities so long as 
those coated with emulsion which has been simply boiled. 



* Nor round the cap of the lens. Look for these defects in bright sun- 
shine, by removing the focusing glass, and then putting head under focus- 
ing cloth ; lastly, remove lens and look through lens aperture at dark 
slide.— W. J. H. 




78 A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 



CHAPTER XL 

HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHIC PRINTING PROCESSES. 

Copying hy Light introduced hy Wedgwood and Davy. — 
The first successful experiments in photography were those in 
which copies of opaque or semi-opaque objects were obtained 
by placing them upon sensitive paper and exposing the whole 
to light. The parts of the paper not protected from the light 
were blackened by it, and when the object was removed its 
position and outline were shown in white upon a black ground. 
Such a process was, of course, only suitable for flat and thin 
bodies, as plants, engravings, etc. ; and those of varying degrees 
of opacity gave the best results, because a similar gradation of 
shade was obtained in the copies. As a sensitive surface, Schulze 
used a mixture of chalk and silver nitrate in 1Y27, and Thomas 
"Wedgwood silver nitrate spread upon paper or leather in 1795 ; 
Davy in 1802 found that silver chloride gave better results than 
silver-nitrate. 

Photogenic Drawing. — The first person to introduce a 
photographic copying process of real value was Fox-Talbot. 
He commenced his experiments, it appears, in 1834, using sil- 
ver nitrate upon paper ; but, soon discovering that silver 
chloride mixed with a little silver nitrate was far more sensi- 
tive to light than either of these substances alone, he employed 
it with great success for copying purposes, and even, as we have 
described in a former chapter, succeeded in obtaining pictures 
within a camera by its aid. These camera-pictures, however, 
wevQ printed right out, by the action of light, and this caused 
the exposures to be very long — from half an hour to an hour. 
It was not till Talbot discovered a method of demloj)ment (in 
1841) that his process became a practical success as far as tak- 
ing pictures in the camera was concerned. 

To this copying process upon paper coated with certain salts 
of silver, Talbot applied the name of " photogenic drawing," 



A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. Y9 

and the term might well he retained for this still useful method 
of copying natural objects hy super-position. In the first de- 
scription of his process, Talbot writes :* " I dip superfine ^vrit- 
ing paper in a weak solution of common salt, and wipe it dry. 
I then spread a solution of nitrate of silver (60 grains to the 
ounce) on one surface only, and dry it at the fire. By alter- 
nately washing the paper with salt and with silver, and drying 
it between times, I have succeeded in increasing its sensibility. 
For fixing the images, after having tried ammonia and several 
other reagents with very imperfect success, the first thing which 
gave me a successful result was the iodide of potassium, much 
diluted with water. If a photogenic picture is washed over 
with this liquid, an iodide of silver is formed which is abso- 
lutely unalterable by sunshine. The specimen of lace which I 
exhibited to the Koyal Society, and which was made five years 
ago, was preserved in this manner. But my usual method of 
fixing is different from this. It consists in immersing the pic- 
ture in a strong solution of common salt, and then wiping off 
the superfluous moisture and drying it." 

Applications of Photogeny. — Talbot's first application of 
his process was to the copying of flowers and leaves selected 
from his herbarium. In those early days of the art, the vast 
saving of time and trouble effected seems to have struck the 
observers very forcibly. In the same memoir Talbot remarks : 
^' It is so natural to associate the idea of labor with great com- 
plexity and elaborate detail of execution, that one is more 
struck at seeing the thousand florets of an agrostis depicted 
with all its capillary branchlets (and so accurately that none of 
all this multitude shall want its little bivalve calyx, requiring 
to be examined through a lens) than one is by the picture of 
the large and simple leaf of an oak or a chestnut. But in 
truth the difiiculty is in both cases the same. The one of 
these takes no more time to execute than the other ; for the 
object which would take the most skilfull artist days or weeks 
of labor to trace or to copy is effected by the boundless powers 
of natural chemistry in the space of a few seconds." 

To give an idea of the degree of accuracy with which some 

* Philosophical Magazine, 1839, p. 209. 



80 A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 

objects can be imitated by this process, I need only mention 
one instance. Upon one occasion, having made an image of a 
piece of lace of an elaborate pattern, I showed it to some per- 
sons at a distance of a few feet, with the inquiry, Mdiether it 
was a good representation ? : when the reply was, " that they 
were not to be so easily deceived, for that it was evidently no 
picture, but the piece of lace itself." 

It is to be regretted that "photogenic drawing" seems to 
have almost fallen into disuse. With our ordinary sensitized 
paper, or with paper prepared in the way described by Talbot, 
very beautiful copies of suitable natural objects — ferns for ex- 
ample — can be obtained. The process forms a capital intro- 
duction to photography, and is especially suitable for .ladies 
and children. The copies obtained can be used for many deco- 
rative purposes. 

The First Portraits Printed hy Light. — In Talbot's first 
communication (1839) he clearly recognizes the valuable fact 
that the pictures obtained by his process are negatives, from 
each of which any number of positives can be obtained by 
printing. Thus he writes : '' In copying engravings, etc., by 
this method the lights and shadows are reversed, consequently 
the effect is wholly altered. But if the picture so obtained is 
^v$,t pr'eserved,"^ so as to bear sunshine, it may be afterwards 
itself employed as an object to be copied ; and by means of 
this secorld process the lights and shadows are brought back 
to their original disposition." But the inventor did not 
then think of employing photography as a means of por- 
trait-taking, except indeed lor " the making of outline por- 
traits, or silhouettes. These are now often traced by the 
hand from shadows projected by a candle. But the hand 
is liable to err from the true outline, and a very small 
deviation causes a notable diminution in the resemblance. I 
believe this manual process cannot be compared with the truth 
and fidelity with which the porti-ait is given by means of solar 
light." 

But the improvements jDatented by Talbot in 1841, with 
others added by Cundell in 1844,t so improved the Calotype 

* i.e., fixed. 

\ Philosophical Magazine for May, 1844. 



A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 81 

Proceas (as Talbot tlieii styled liis method) that it became ap- 
plicable to portraiture, and tlie inventor granted licenses to 
several professionals to use it for likeness-taking. The first of 
these was Mr. Henry Collen, of London, of whose "beautiful 
Talbotype miniatures " a contemporary reviewer remarks * 
that, " touched up and improved, they show how much is yet 
to be accomplished by the application of artistic skill to the 
productions of the solar pencil." 

Boohs Illustrated hy Photographs. — Talbot believed strongly 
in the suitability of photography for book illustrations, and in 
1844-46 he issued a series of twenty-four plates (positive 
prints from calotj'pes) under the title of the " Pencil of 
Nature." The subjects include the Boulevards of Paris, 
Bridge of Orleans, Lacock Abbey, etc. In only one picture 
are figures introduced. In all existing copies of this valuable 
book which we have examined, the photographs are more or 
less faded, yellow outlines only being visible, though a few of 
the photographs are still of a purplish hue in the central part. 
A description of the methods employed in the printing is given 
by Mr. Malone mt\\Q Livejpool and Manchester Photographic 
Journal, 1857, p. 270; and 1858, p. 23. 

In 1846, Talbot published a similar book, entitled " Sun 
Pictures in Scotland," and a specimen of his work was given 
in the Art Journal for June 13th, 1846. The first scientific 
periodical which contained a photograph as an illustration 
was, we believe, the Quarterly Journal of MiGroscopical Sci- 
ence for April, 1853. Two Scotch photographers, Messrs. Hill 
and Adamson, prepared large collections of Talbotypes, about 
1850, which were sold at prices of £40 and £50 each. 

In later years, more especially about 1866-70, many books, 
some of them very expensive, were published, in which pho- 
tographs of works of art, pictures, scenery, etc., formed the 
principal features ; but a radical defect in most or all of these 
was the gradual fading and yellowing of the pictures, so that 
purchasers became very chary of paying from three to ten 
guineas for such unstable productions. During the last few 
years, however, since 1883, say, the introduction of such per- 

* .Vorth British Revieia, 1847, p. 479. 



A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 



maueiit processes as carbon and platinotjpe, together with the 
advance of the photo-mechanical methods, bid fair again to 
bring photography to the front, and to give it that leading 
place to which it is entitled as a mode of illustrating books. 

It may be interesting to add here that the first pnblic exhi- 
bition of photographs was held under the auspices of the 
Society of Arts, in their room in the Adelphi, London, on 
December 22d, 1852. This exhibition resulted in the forma- 
tion of the Photographic Society of London, on January 30th, 
1853, and this society has ever since held an annual exhibition 
of photographs in London. 

Printing on Plain Salted Paper. — Fox-Talbot's method 
of printing upon ordinary white paper has come down almost 
unaltered to the present day. The standard size of the paper 
employed is 23^ by 17 inches, and it is nearly all made at the 
little towns of Rives in France, and Saxe in Germany. Thirty 
years ago the principal makers of photographic paper were 
Hollingworth and Sanford in England, and Canson in France, 
but for some reason or other the two towns above-named now 
enjoy a practical monopoly. The chief points to be attended 
to in making paper for use in photography are the avoidance 
of metallic particles — such as might come from buttons in the 
rags, etc., and of the hyposulphite of soda which is largely used 
by ordinary paper-makers in the process of whitening the 
paper, but which is very destructive to photographs. 

The paper is " salted " by being floated for three minutes 
upon the following solution : 

Water 500 parts. 

Ammonium chloride 8 parts. 

Sodium citrate. 10 parts. 

Gelatine 1 part. 

It is then dried and sensitized by being floated for the same 
length of time upon a solution of silver nitrate, fifty grains 
to the ounce ; when dry it is ready for use. 

Printing on Alhumenized Pwper. — Plain salted paper is 
most useful where the photograph is to be afterwards colored, 
as it gives a dead surface which is easy to work upon ; but, 
unless special precautions are taken, the image has a gray and 
sunken-in appearance. To remedy this, a quantity of albumen 



A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAI»HY, 83 

(white of egg;) is now almost always mixed with the first or 
" salting " solution. This fills the pores of the paper and keeps 
the sensitive salt of silver (silver chloride) which is subse- 
quently formed by floating the prepared paper upon silver 
solution, upon the surface ; its gloss is also considered to add 
to the appearance of the picture. The introduction of albu- 
men ized paper has been credited to Fox-Talbot, but the first 
description of it which I have been able to find in English is 
in the third edition of "Hunt's Manual of Photography" 
(preface dated December, 1852), where it is given as an ex- 
tract from a book by the French investigator Le Gray. There 
is another account of the process, by H. Pollock, in the jour- 
nal of the (London) Photographic Society for July, 1853. 

Papers tinted pink, mauve, etc., were introduced in 1863, 
and enameled paper (to give greater brilliancy) about the 
same time. 

Thomas Sutton patented (October, 1862) a plan of giving 
paper a preliminary coating of India rubber dissolved in ben- 
zole before albumenizing it. This completely prevented the 
solutions sinking into the paper and caused the prints to be 
more vigorous and brilliant. Such paper was manufactured 
for several years by Messrs. Ordisli in London. 

In 1866, A. Taylor used * a solution of bleached shellac in 
phosphate of soda to prepare the paper instead of albumen. 
Great permanence was claimed for this method. 

In 1842, Dr. A. S. Taylor (and A. Smee and Mr. Collen, 
about the same time) used ammonio-nitrate of silver to sensi- 
tize plain salted paper with good results. Albumenized paper 
cannot be sensitized in this way, inasmuch as it is dissolved by 
the ammonio-nitrate. 

Printing with the Juices of Flowers. — In 1842, Sir John 
Herschel devoted much time to experiments upon printing on 
paper soaked in the coloring matter extracted from the petals 
of many species of fiowers. The petals were crushed in a 
mortar, a little alcohol added, and the pulp was then strained 
through a cloth. The liquid so obtained was then spread upon 
paper with a brush and dried in a dark place. Poppies, violets, 

* Photographic News, June 15th, p. 280. 



84 A HISTOKY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 

roses, etc., were tried with success ; but. the exposures required 
to produce a visible impression were very long, extending over 
weeks, or even months.* 

'''■ Printing ouV on Gelatino- Chloride Paper. — More than 
twenty years ago Palmer and Smith showed f how paper 
coated with an emulsion of gelatino-chloride of silver could be 
used for coating paper for photographic printing. 

In 1S81, Dr. Eder and Capt. Abney published :}: further de- 
tails ; while W. T. Wilkinson gave a number of practical de- 
tails in the British Joiirnal of Photography for the same 
year.§ 

Aristotype Paper. — In 1886 the firm of Liesegang, of Dus- 
seldorf, in Germany, prepared a paper coated with gelatino 
citro-chloride of silver, which, under the name of "Aristo," or 
aristotype paper, has found favor, especially for printing from 
weak negatives. The picture is " printed-out," as upon ordi- 
nary albumenized paper, but it only requires about one-third 
of the time ; it must then be toned and fixed. A similar 
paper is manufactured by Obernetter.| 

Ready-sensitized Paper. — The albunienizing of paper is so 
troublesome an operation that it has been left, almost univer- 
sally, to the manufacturer. But it is the custom with profes- 
sional photographers and with many others to sensitize for 
themselves the already salted and albumenized paper by float- 
ing it upon a bath of silver nitrate. Unfortunately, it is the 
case that paper sensitized in this way loses its color rapidly. 
It ought, in fact, to be used as soon as it is dry. The con- 
venience of a paper which could be purchased ready sensitized 
and which would keep for a reasonable period, was doubtless 
recognized at an early date ; and such an article came into use 
commercially in 1869, and is now largely used ; yet, strange to 



* See Herschel "On the Action of the Solar Spectrum on Vegetable 
Colors"; Philosophical Transactions, 1842, part ii., p. 181. 

\ Photographic News, 1866, p. 24, 36. 

ilbid, p. 400. 

§Pp., 140, 168. 

II This well-known Munich photographer has died since this sentence 
was written, but the paper will doubtless be continued to be issued under 
his name. 



A IIIS10KY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 85 

say, the exact nietliod of preparation has been successfully 
kept a " trade secret." 

Mr. J. C. Hopkins, in the Photographic News for 1873, 
stated that ordinary sensitized paper keeps well if placed when 
nearly dry between sheets of blotting-paper which have been 
soaked in carbonate of soda solution (thirty grains to the ounce 
of water), and then dried. Pads, of carbonated blotting-paper 
placed behind the negative in the printing-frame, also answer 
well. 

Captain Abney washes the sensitized paper (to remove the 
free silver nitrate) and then dips it into a weak solution of 
either potassium nitrite or potassium sulphite. 

Mr. W. Bedford sensitizes the paper on a neutral bath, and 
then floats the face upon a bath containing thirty grains each 
of citric acid and of silver nitrate to the ounce of water. 

Another method is to float the hach of the paper, after sen- 
sitizing, upon a weak solution of citric acid. The addition of 
this substance to the printing bath was recommended in 1863 * 
by Colonel Stuart Wortley. It is behoved that much of the 
ready-sensitized paper made at the present day is sensitized 
upon a nitrate of silver bath to which citric acid and a little 
gum has been added. M. Baden, of Albona, found that by 
washing sensitized paper (to remove the free nitrate of silver) 
the paper would keep for a long time ; but, before using, it 
must he fumed with amynonia. This method was introduced 
into England in 1870, by Colonel Stuart Wortley. f 

Ammonia fuming has been used with great success in 
America (where it was introduced in 1863), but has not met with 
much favor in England, although its effects are undeniably 
good, and " old " samples of paper may often be made avail- 
able for use by simply fuming them. 

Combination Printing. — It is a common practice with art- 
ists to "improve" any landscape which they may be engaged 
in painting by the omittal of such portions as would tend to 
mar the effect of the finished picture, replacing them by ob- 
jects sketched in another locality. Figures, too, are introduced 



* Photographic Journal, February 16th, 1863. 
^British Journal of Photography, p. 337. 



86 A HISTORY OF PHOTOGKAPHV. 

where and as required. Such a power of selection is generally- 
considered to be beyond the means of the photographer ; but 
that it has been possible to produce a single print or finished 
picture by combining two or more negatives has been known 
and successfully practiced for more than thirty years. 

At an exhibition held in connection with the meeting of the 
British Association in Glasgow, in 1855, Messrs. Berwick and 
Annan, of that city, exhibited a picture " printed from two 
different negatives" — a figure introduced into a landscape. 
The process was exactly that subsequently used by Mr. H. P. 
Robinson, which we have described further on. 

On April 5th, 1858, O. Sarony patented a means of " pro- 
ducing a positive portrait by means of two or more negatives." 
The first part of the " patent " is practically Berwick and 
Annan's method, but he adds, "these improvements may also 
be effected by taking up the different portions of the collodion 
film f)"om the glass of one or more negatives and laying them 
down on a glass or in the printing-frame in their proper rela- 
tive positions, and then printing from them without marks. 

This reminds us of the plan adopted by many in 1885 (when 
paper negatives came into general use), of cutting out the parts 
required from each negative with a sharp pair of scissors, and 
fitting them accurately together on a sheet of glass. 

The first man to attract general attention to combination 
printing was Oscar G. Rejlander (born 1803, died 1875), a 
Swedish artist, who practiced photography at Wolverhamp- 
ton, and who in 1857 sent a very large photograph called 
" The Two Ways of Life " to the famous Manchester Exhibi- 
tion of that year. Thirty negatives were employed in printing 
this photograph,* each being laid in turn upon the sensitized 
paper and exposed to sunlight, while the rest of the paper was 
covered over with black velvet. As an example of ingenuity 
and power to overcome difficulties, this picture has never 
been surpassed. 

In the next year, 1858, Mr. H. P. Robinson produced his 
famous combination picture (printed from five negatives), en- 



* " On Photographic Composition; with a Description of 'The Two 
Ways of Life,' " by O. G. Rej lander. Photographic Journal for 1858, p. 191. 



A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 87 

titled, " Fading Away," a consumptive girl surrounded by griev- 
ing friends, which was exhibited in January, 1859, before the 
London Photographic Society.* It attracted great attention, 
and much difference of opinion was excited as to the pro- 
priety of photography being employed to delineate such a 
subject. But all opposition was stopped by the splendid series 
of photographs with which Mr. Robinson followed up his first 
success, including "Bringing Home the May," 1863, (size 
40 by 15 inches, printed from nine negatives), " AVayside Gos- 
sip," "A Merry Tale," and a score of others, the result of the 
artist's noble resolve ''to do something, at least one picture 
every year, for the love of art and of photography." Mr. Rob- 
inson's method may be called the "stopping-out" plan. As 
many negatives as are required are taken, and then from each 
is stopped out in some way or other — as by painting over with 
black varnish, or gumming on paper — all but the part re- 
quired. The sensitive paper is then printed in turn under 
each negative. 

Prmting-in Clouds. — This is merely a variety of combina- 
tion printing. In the early days of photography, about 1855 
say, a perfectly white clear sky was much admired. In the 
very first number of the Photographic Journal (March, 
1853), Sir W. J. Newton suggests the addition of clouds by 
the use on the skies of dense negatives of cyanide of potas- 
sium ; or of India ink upon thin ones. About 1862 the de- 
sirability of adding clouds to landscape prints was generally 
recognized, and at first this was done by painting or dabbing 
upon the back of the negative. Then separate cloud-negatives 
were taken, and these " natural clouds" printed-in by meth- 
ods which are well explained by V. Blancliard in the Photo- 
graphic News for September 4th, 1863. 

Vignetting. — This mode of shading-off the light so as to 
cast a halo round the picture is desciibed by Mr. Latimer 
Clark in the Photographic Journal for December, 1853. He 
placed a sheet of some opaque substance having a hole cut in 

*Mr. Robinson's first description of his method is contained in a paper 
printed in the Photographic Journal for April 16th, 1860 ; but his method 
is fully described in the book on " Silver Printing" (chap, xiv.), which he 
wrote in conjunction with Capt. Abney. 



88 A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 

the center, in front of the negative and about half-an-inch 
above it. The printing frames so fitted were placed on a 
light stage which was made to revolve by means of a bottle- 
jack. Vignetting came into extended use in 1857-58. Mr. 
Forrest, of Liverpool, was the inventor of the stained and 
ground vignetting-glasses now so commonly used. 

History of Toning Processes. — " Toning," as photographers 
call it, is practically gilding the image formed by light, either 
by a thin deposit of gold upon the silver of which the image 
is composed, or by the replacement of part or the whole of 
the silver by gold. In 1841 * the French scientist, Fizeau, 
toned daguerreotypes by applying to the heated surface of 
the silver plate a mixture of hyposulphite of soda and chloride 
of gold. 

The early paper prints of Talbot were of a foxy-red or 
bister tint, due to the color of the deposited silver in a finely 
divided state, modified by the " size" with which the paper 
was impregnated. By using continuously the same fixing bath 
(adding crystals of hypo occasionally to keep up its strength), 
or by placing such prints in an " old hypo bath," i. e., one al- 
ready impregnated with chloride of silver and which had been 
allowed to stand for a week or so, or until a black deposit was 
seen to form, the prints were changed in color from red to 
brown or black. This process was largely used between 1848 
and 1855; it was really "sulphur toning," the black color 
being due to the formation of sulphide of silver. A sulphur- 
etted organic salt of silver was, however, also formed, and un- 
der atmospheric influences this speedily altered, reacting in 
addition upon the other substances present. At this period, 
moreover, the necessity for a thorough removal of the hypo- 
sulphite of soda used in fixing was not generally recognized, 
and its presence contributed to a rapid fading of the picture. 
It is doubtful whether a single photograph taken before 1855 
could be produced to-day which has not undergone serious, 
and for the most part fatal deterioration. 

Very valuable information on these points is contained in a 



* Communicated to the Academic des Sciences on Maj' loth and 24th, 
1841. 



A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. by 

report of a committee of the London Photographic Society,* 
appointed in May, 1855, His Koyal Highness, the Prince Con- 
sort (who always took a lively interest in photography), con- 
tributing £50 towards the expenses of the inquiry. 

The proved advantages of tlie addition of chloride of gold 
to the hypo solution for toning daguerreotypes naturally 
led to its trial for the same purpose for toning paper prints. 
In Gustave Le Gray's book (published in France in 1849), he 
writes : " I obtain also fine velvet-like tints by putting the 
photograph (when taken out of the hyposulphite of soda), upon 
a bath of salt of gold, using fifteen grains of the chloride of 
gold to one pint and a half of distilled water." In this method 
we see that toning followed fixing ; and such was for a long 
time a general custom, being reconnnended, for instance, by 
Hockin, in 1860, in a book f which had a very large circula- 
tion. A disadvantage of Le Gray's method was that the prints 
were very much weakened by the toning process, necessitating 
a great amount of over-printing to commence with. The gold 
solution was always acid. 

In 1855, Thomas Sutton recommended:}: the use of an acid 
bath of set cVor for toning. Sel cTor is a compound of chloride 
of gold and hyposulphite of soda, formed by mixing concen- 
trated solutions of the two salts, and then precipitating the 
double salt by the addition of alcohol. The print was washed 
before toning, and fixed afterwards. This process became 
popular ; but it was ultimately abandoned because — as there 
was no means of knowing how much gold remained in the 
bath at any given time — it degenerated in the hands of most 
photographers into mere sulphur toning, the bath being kept 
in use long after the gold was exhausted. 

The classical investigations of Hardwich, in England,§ com- 
menced in 1854, and of Davanne and Girard, in France (1855 
and following years), laid down the lines upon which the print 



* Photographic Journal, vol. ii., p. 251; see also " Reports of Juries, 
Exhibition of 1803 

f " Practical Hints on Photography," by J. B. Hockin. 
X Photographic Journal, vol. ii., p. 133. 
glbid, vol. iii., pp. 35, 268; vol. iii., etc. 



90 A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 

ought to be treated after its removal from the printing-frame ; 
and minor investigators filled in the details. 

In 1855, Mr. Waterhouse, of Halifax, the inventor of the re- 
movable diaphragms which bear his name, introdnced a most 
valuable improvement in toning processes by the use of an 
alkaline (or, at all events, strictly non-acid) solution of the 
chloride of gold. The alkali used by Waterhouse was carbon- 
ate of potash, and he " added more or less of it according to 
the tint desired." This process was first published in 1856 in 
the third edition of Hardwich's " Photographic Chemistry," 
and was subsequently recommended by Mr. Hardwich in a 
paper read before the London Photographic Society.* Soon 
the changes were rung on all the alkalies; Hardwich (in 1856) 
substituted carbonate of soda for the potash " as being a salt 
more easily obtainable " ; within the next year or two the 
Abbe Lal)orde (in France) and Hannafordf (in England) used 
acetate of soda ; and in 1858 Maxwell-Lyte :}: recommended 
the phosphate of soda, his formula l)eing 

" Terchloride of gold 10 grains. 

Phosphate of soda (pure) 3 drams. 

Distilled Water 1 pint." 

At that time the toning process was commonly called 
"coloring" — thus Maxwell-Lyte's paper is entitled, "A Pro- 
cess for Coloring Positives ; " in a postscript to it he adds, 
"the phosphate of soda may be replaced by common borax." 
From this time (1858-59) the principal toning processes may 
be said to have remained practically unchanged to the present 
day. 

History of Fixing Processes for Prints. — The only thing 
deplored by Wedgwood and Davy in 1802 was their inability 
to discover any satisfactory solvent for the salts of silver — the 
muriate (or, as we should now call it, the chloride) and the ni- 
trate — which they employed. 

In 1819 Sir John Herschel pointed out§ the ready solubili- 



* Photographic Jotirnnl, vol. v., p. 95. 
flbid, vol. vi. for 1859, p. 83. 
ilbid, vol. v., p 112. 
§ Edinburgh Philosophical Journal. 



A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 91 

ty of silver salts in the alkaline hyposulphites. From this, 
time the problem of photography was solved ; but, unfortu- 
nately, Niepce, Daguerre, and Talbot seem to have known 
nothing of the w^ork already done by Davy and by Herschel, 

In 1839 Daguerre fixed his iodized silver plates by washing 
them either with ammonia or with a strong solution of com- 
mon salt. 

At the same time Fox-Talbot used common salt, and also 
solutions of bromide of potassium and iodide of potassium. 

Immediately Herschel heard of Daguerre's and of Talbot's 
successes in photography (in January, 1839), he remembered 
the substance whose solvent powers for silver salts he had 
announced in 1819 (hyposulphite of soda), and the directions 
which he gives for its use in a valuable paper, read before the Roy- 
al Society on February 20, 1840, have ever since formed the foun- 
dation of our ordinary method of fixing photographs on paper. 
Herschel writes, after washing in pure water, the paper must be 
dried, " and then brushed over very quickly with a fiat camel's- 
hair brush, dipped in a saturated solution of the hyposulphite, 
first on the face, then on the back. This having remained on 
it till the paper is completely penetrated with it, it must be 
washed off with repeated and copious effusions of water, aided 
by a soft sponge, with a dabbing motion, often turning the 
picture until the liquid comes off without the slightest sweet- 
ness. The photograph is then fixed, and may be dried and 
put by ; but to make it quite secure it is best to repeat the 
process, and if the paper be thick, even a third time. The 
hyposulphite of soda and silver being liable to spontaneous de- 
composition, it is necessary to be very careful in washing away 
the ver}" last traces of this salt." 

It would have been well if the early photographers — under 
which phrase we include the workers before 1855 — had paid more 
attention to Herschel's remarks ; then we should have had more 
of their work remaining. Indeed, the men of to-day might re- 
member the advice as to sponging and dabbing — Captain Ab- 
ney strongly recommends this plan — for by applying pressure 
in this way to the prints a photograph may be more thoroughly 
freed from hypo in two or three hours than by days of 
mere soaking ; the result too, being a more brilliant print. 



92 A HISTORY OF PHOTOGEAPHY, 

In the face of Herschel's work, it is difficult to understand 
how Fox-Talbot could have included as part of a patent for 
" Improvements in the Calotype Process," which he took out 
in 1843, a claim to "give increased whiteness to calotjpe and 
other photographic pictures, and at the same time make them 
more permanent, hj plunging them into a hot solution of hypo- 
sulphite of soda (or any other soluble hyposulphite) after which 
they are removed, washed, and dried." 

In the first edition of his " Manual of Photography," pub- 
lished in 1841, Robert Hunt remarks : 

{a) " That prints upon nitrate of silver may be fixed by wash- 
ing with distilled water only. 

(b) " That prints upon chloride of silver are ' half-fixed ' by 
thorough washing with pure water. 

(c) " I have in my possession some pictures which have been 
fixed with a strong brine, and subsequently washed with warm 
water. They have become slightly blue in the white portions, 
but otherwise they are very permanent. 

(d) " Chloride of silver being soluble in solution of ammonia 
and some of its salts, they have been recommended for fixing 
agents. The ammonia, however, attacks the (silver) oxide, 
which forms the darkened part in some preparations, so rapidly, 
that there is great risk of its destroying the picture, or at least 
of its impairing it considerably. It matters not whether the 
liquid ammonia or its carbonate be used, but it must be a very 
diluted solution. 

(Quite recently ^'"ammonia has again been brought forward 
as a fixing agent by Mr. P. PL Bow of Edinburgh.*) 

(e) " The ferrocyanate of potash, or, as it is more commonly 
called, the prussiate of potash, converts the chloride into a 
cyanide of silver, which is not susceptible of change by light ; 
consequently this cheap salt has been employed as a fixing 
agent ; but, most unfortunately, photographs which have been 
subjected to this preparation are slowly, but surely obliterated 
in the dark, 

(y) " The iodide of silver, which is readily formed by wash- 
ing the photograph with the solution of the iodide of potassium, 

* Photographic News, 1887, p. 234. 



A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 93 

is scarcely sensitive to light. It tinges the white lights of the 
picture of a pale yellow — a color which is extremely active in 
absorhing the chemical rays of light, and is therefore quite in- 
applicable whei'e any copies of the original photograph are re- 
quired. 

{g) " Of all the fixing agents, the hyposulphite of soda is 
decidedly the best." 

These remarks on fixing agents are repeated in the later 
• editions of Hunt's popular manual. They are taken mainly 
from Herschel's paper of 1840 referred to further on. 

About 1850, Keuben Phillips used electricity to accelerate 
the fixing process. He employed " electrodes the size of the 
photograph to be fixed, and placing upon the under one a flan- 
nel wetted with the fixing agent, he placed the print, wetted 
with the same solution upon it, and laid another wetted flannel 
upon the print, covering the whole with the other electrode. 
Connecting the electrodes with a galvanic battery, the metallic salt 
is rapidly removed to one pole, and thus the fixing process 
rendered comparatively short and easy." 

J. H. Croucher in a book pubhshed in 1845, advises* "to 
fix the picture, soak it for two or three minutes, or longer if 
strongly developed, in a solution of half an ounce of hyposul- 
phite of soda to a pint of water, turning it occasionally ; and 
then soak it in water for twelve to twenty-four hours." 

In Le Gray's book, edition of 1849, he gives (in addition to the 
hypo bath) a fixing solution of bromide of potassium, 360 
grains to If pints of water; its advantage being the avoid- 
ance of the use of hypo when traveling, the latter salt be- 
ing even then recognised as likely to spoil everything photo- 
graphic with which it came into contact. 

Other fixing agents suggested by Herschel in 1840 were liy- 
driodate of potash and chromate of silver. 

From the remarks made in the paragraphs on toning pro- 
cesses, it will be seen that the operations of toning and fixing 
were most commonly performed in one and the same bath — 



* See also paper by R. Hunt "On the Use of the Hydriodic Salts as 
Photographic Agents," Edinburgh Philosophical Magazine, September 
and October, 1840. 



94 A HISTORY OF PHOTOGKAPHY. 

first of old hypo alone, and then of hjpo, plus cliloride of gold — 
from 1839 down to 1858 ; the advantage of separating the one 
process from the other being lirst authoritatively shown in Mr. 
Hardwich's paper communicated to the London Photographic 
Society in December, 1858. From that date down to the present 
day hyposulphite of soda has been, we may say, universally 
used for fixing positive prints on paper, the best proportions 
being three ounces of the salt to each pint of water. The 
hypo should be kept alkalme by the addition of a little carbon- 
ate of ammonia. 

" Hyposulphite of soda" was first prepared by Chaussier in 
1799, and was first studied by Vauquelin. In 1869, Schutz- 
enberger showed that the so-called " hyposulphurous acid" 
was really thioauljyhurous acid,* from which it resulted that 
the salts previously called " hyposulphites " were really thiosul- 
phates. The correct chemical name of NagSjOj is therefore 
sodium thio-sulphate, but its old name of " hypo " will 
probably stick to it as long as the present generation of photog- 
raphers exists. 

Magic Photographs. — In Herschel's excellent paper, pub- 
lished in 1840,t he writes: "By far the most remarkable fixing 
process with which I am acquainted, however, consists in wash- 
ing over the picture with a weak solution of corrosive sublimate 
(mercury bichloride), and then laying it for a few moments in 
water. This at once and completely ohliterates the picture, 
reducing it to the state of perfectly white paper, on which the 
nicest examination (if the process be perfectly executed) can 
detect no trace, and in which it may be used for any other pur- 
pose, as drawing, writing, etc., being completely insensible to 
light." 

" Nevertheless, the picture, though invisible, is only dormant, 
and may be instantly revived in all its force by merely brush- 
ing it over with a solution of neutral hyposulphite, after which, 
however, it remains as insensible as before to the action of 



* Comptes Reiidus, vol. Ixix., p. 196. 

f On the Chemical Action of the Solar Spectrum ; on Preparations of 
Silver and other Substances, both Metallic and Non-metallic ; and on 
some Photographic Processes : " Philosophical Transactions." 1840, part i. 



A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 95 

light. And thus it may be successively obliterated and revived 
as often as we please. It hardly requires mention that the 
property in question furnishes a means of painting in mezzo- 
tint {i.e. of commencing on black paper and working in the 
lights), as also a mode of secret writing, and a variety of simi- 
lar applications." 

In 1866 these " magic photographs " obtained widespread 
popularity. They were sold everywhere at a cheap rate. 
The improvement which brought them into notice con- 
sisted in selling with each photograph a piece of blotting 
paper which had been saturated with hyposulphite of soda 
and then dried. It was only necessary to dip this into 
plain water and lay it upon the " magic photograph " to cause 
the picture to appear. 

Cyanide of potassium was used by M. A. Gaudin in 1853,* 
for fixing collodion positives on glass, and for such work 
it has ever since been preferred to hyposulphite of soda. 
Cyanide, however, is not fitted for fixing paper prints on 
chloride of silver, since it attacks the image. In extremely 
dilute solution (four drops saturated solution to the pint of 
water) it has, however, been found useful for reducing over- 
printed proofs. Vernier, in 1860, used it for this purpose. 
One great drawback to the use of this substance is its terribly 
poisonous nature. 

Sulphite of soda was shown in 1885,t by Captain Abney, to 
be an excellent fixing agent, though about twelve times more 
expensive than hypo. It should be used in the proportions 
of four ounces to the pint of water. 

Sulpho-cyanide of Ammonia was proposed as a fixing agent 
by M. Meynier in 1863.:}: It gives a yellow hue to albumen- 
ized paper, but answers well for proofs on plain salted paper. 
A compound fixing and toning bath of this salt, plus chloride 
of gold, is said to answer admirably for the " Aristotype " 
paper lately introduced. 



* La Lumiire, April 23d, 30th. 

t Photographic News, pp. 339, 354, 370. 

X Bulletin de la Sociifte Francaise. 



A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY 



CHAPTEE XII. 

HISTORY OP PHOTOGRAPHIC PRINTING PROCESSES.-Continued. 

Printing hy Development. (1) With Iodide of Silver. — In 
dull weather and in winter it is sometimes found impossible 
to get a single print for days together' by the " printing- 
out" process upon our ordinary printing paper, which contains 
chloride of silver in albumen. The advantage of employing 
a method of development to jjroduce positive prints from 
negatives, as well as the negatives themselves, was recognized 
at an early date, for the necessary time of exposure to light 
was thereby reduced from hours it might be to seconds ; more- 
over, the prints so obtained are undoubtedly more permanent. 

In the Report * of the Jurors of the Exhibition of 1851, 
they state that Blanquart Evrard (France) has proved " that 
from one good original negative (Talbotype), any number of 
positive copies may be taken to the extent, indeed, of two or 
three hundred copies in a rainy day." The following graphic 
description of how 250 prints were produced from one nega- 
tive with one pressure frame in one hour and fifty minutes, is 
by Thomas Sutton, f who was himseK for some time a partner 
with Blanquart Evrard about the year 1857 : " The single pres- 
sure frame employed is contrived to run in and out of a window 
on a platform provided with rails. Tlie window has a dark 
shutter which works up and down like a guillotine. Each 
print was exposed separately for a few seconds. The time oc- 
cupied in exposing the 250 was about an hour and a half. 
The operation was conducted by a girl with a metronome at 
her side which ticks seconds. When a certain number had 
been exposed they were taken to the develoi)ing room. Here 
three or four girls were employed in developing the pictures. 



* I^age 277. 

f See Photographic Notes, 1856, p. 



A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 97 

They used large glass dishes and each girl developed twenty 
or thirty at a time. The development of each print occupied 
about twenty minutes. Of the 250 prints produced on that 
occasion, 13 were rejected, and the remainder were published 
and sold." 

" The girls employed divide their time between photography, 
and agricultural and other pursuits. When a sufficient quan- 
tity has been ordered a day is iixed and it is done. This is 
the way in which we print by the method of development. 
During the last five years at M. Blanquart Evrard's establish 
ment at Lille, a staff of country girls have produced more pre- 
sentable prints by the method of development than all the 
rest of Europe combined by other printing processes." 

This development-printing process consisted in sensitizing 
iodized paper upon a solution of silver nitrate (thereby pro- 
ducing iodide of silver with an excess of nitrate of silver upon 
the paper), and then, after exposure beneath the negative, 
brushing over it a solution of gallic acid. This method was, 
therefore, practically identical with the calotype process. The 
defects were the " cold tone" of the prints, with a " lack of 
purity in the whites." No toning bath was employed. The 
Photographic Album, issued in monthly parts (price 6 shil- 
lings), by Sutton and Blanquart Evrard, in 1856, contained 
four developed prints in each part, and for some years Sutton 
challenged anyone to produce one of these prints which, hav- 
ing had fair treatment, had faded. 

(2) With Bromide of Siher.—l^ 1854, Sir W. J. Newton 
described * a method almost identical with that given above, 
except that silver bromide was formed on the paper instead of 
silver iodide. The time of exposure requii^ed was from half a 
minute to three minutes, according to the (sun) light. 

Development-Printing on Gelatino- Bromide Paper. — The 
first notice of the now very popular and largely used gelatin o- 
bromide paper is contained in the " British Journal Almanac " 
for 1874, where Peter Mawdsley (of the Liverpool Dry -Plate 
Co.) advertises gelatino-bromide plates (price 4s. per dozen, 
quarters), and adds : " in addition to the plates, we can supply 

* Journal of Photographic Society, vol. i., p. 222. 



98 A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 

sensitive paper at from 20 to 25 per cent, less cost, including 
postage." 

" For those who object to the weight and fragile nature of 
glass as a support for the sensitive -tilm, the paper possesses 
many advantages ; in fact, there is but one drawback to its 
use — the slight texture, which, however, by skill and care in 
printing, may be reduced to a minimum. It may also be used 
for positive proofs by contact and development-printing, an 
exposure of a few seconds to gas or other artificial light being 
sufficient. It will be found invaluable for enlargements." 

In the body of the same book a capital article, by P. Mawdsley, 
also appears (page 129) on the " Development of Gelatino- 
Bromide Plates and Paper," in which he recommends our or- 
dinary pyro-ammonia developer, restrained with bromide. 

On July 22d, 18Y9, J. W. Swan patented in England '*a 
method of printing by development on surfaces coated with 
bromide emulsion." 

He added " small quantities of alum and carbolic acid to 
make the emulsion less soluble," or else submitted the coated 
surface to the action of steam for the same purpose. The 
printing was done "either in the camera or by contact (artifi- 
cial light preferred), developed with ferrous oxalate," and 
fixed in the usual way with hypo. 

In 1880 Messrs. W. T. Morgan & Co.,* of Greenwich, near 
London, commenced the manufacture on a large scale of paper 
coated with gelatino-bromide emulsion. In a pamphlet writ- 
ten for the firm by John Burgess, and published in July, 1880, 
it is stated that such paper had been made by them since 
1874. 

In 1881 T. C Roche took out a similar patent in America. 

In June, 1882, Messrs. Morgan & Kidd patented a method 
of coating or enameling paper with an impervious and insolu- 
ble layer of gelatine containing alum ; this layer prevented the 
film of emulsion subsequently applied from sinking into the 
paper, and thus rendered it available for the production of 
brilliant pictures from small negatives by contact printing. 

Messrs. Hutinet and Stebbing in 1883 made a tour of Great 

*Now Morgan & Kidd, of Richmond, Surrey. 



A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 99 

Britain, demonstrating in the principal towns the easy method 
of enlarging with the lantern upon gelatino-bromide paper. 

While speaking of enlarging we may remark that an article, 
describing a method of enlarging by daylight, devised by 
Heilmann, appeared in the AthetiCBum for July 9th, 1853. 

The Eastman Co., of Rochester, N. Y., exhibited their pho- 
tographic paper and appliances at the Inventions Exhibition, 
South Kensington, in 1885, and a notice of their work ap- 
peared in the Times for August 11th of that year. The paper 
is given a preliminary coating of gelatine, is then calendered, 
and finally receives a double coating of gelatino-bromide emul- 
sion. The paper used for positive printing requires an expos- 
ure, when in contact with the negative, of from three to twenty 
seconds. It is developed with ferrous oxalate, and requires 
no toning. 

History of Development- Printing on Gelatino- Chloride of 
Silver Paper. — The Times newspaper for November 24th, 
1884, contains a description of a new printing paper issued by 
Marion & Co., of Soho Square, London, and called the 
" Alpha," of which, although the precise formula has not been 
published, we know that it consists of silver chloride, together 
with a little silver bromide, contained in gelatine. The special 
advantages of this paper are cheapness and the warm and 
varied tones which can be obtained ; it generally requires ton- 
ing, however. This paper has been successfully used in con- 
nection with an automatic printing machine invented in 1885, 
by John Urie, of Glasgow, with which 200 prints per hour 
can be obtained. 

A very similar machine was invented in the United States 
many years ago by Fontayne. 

The Alpha paper is exposed beneath a negative for from 
ten seconds to two minutes — according to the density of the 
negative — and then developed with ferrous oxalate. 

A full and valuable description of the methods of making 
gelatin o-chloride emulsion and spreading the same upon paper, 
opals and glass for positive printing, is contained in a long 
series of papers contributed by Messrs. Ashman and Offord to 
the Photograp)liic News for 1885 and 1886. 

History of the Carbon Printing Process.— ^\\e\^ the early 



100 A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 

photographers found their silver prints fade one by one, 
despair for a while took possession of their hearts ; but they 
speedily rallied and began to look around for some permanent 
material in which to imprint their pictures. In 1856, the Due 
de Luynes placed in the hands of the Photographic Society of 
France the sum of 10,000 francs, to be offered for the inven- 
tion oi a, permanent photographic printing process ; and in an- 
nouncing this handsome donation, the then president of the 
society, M. KegnauU, the famous chemist, directed the atten- 
tion of inventors to cai^hon in the following words : * "Of all 
the substances with which chemistry has made us acquainted, 
the most permanent, and the one which best resists all chemi- 
cal reagents in the temperature of our atmosphere is carbon. 
. . . . The present condition of ancient manuscripts shows 
us that carbon, in the form of lampblack on the paper, remains 
unchanged for centuries. If, therefore, it were possible to 
form photographic pictures in carbon, we should then have the 
same guarantee for their permanency that we now have for 
our printed books ; and that is the best which we can hope or 
wish for." 

Since carbon is unalterable by light, the next step was to 
lind some substance ujpon which light could act, and in which 
finely divided carbon might be contained. 

Such a substance was to hand in a mixture of bichromate of 
potash and gelatine, which, soluble enough if kept in the dark, 
becomes insoluble when exposed to light. 

Mungo Ponton, in 1839, announced to the Royal Society of 
Scottish Artists that paper soaked in a solution of bichromate 
of potash and dried, is changed in color from yellow to brown 
by exposure to sunlight. He obtained copies of drawings in 
this way, and fixed them by simply washing them in water? 
which dissolved out the unaltered bichromate. 

In 1840, Becquerel announced that if the paper was first 
sized with iodide of starch, it was more sensitive. Robert 
Hunt's "chromatype" process, published in 1813, varies only 
from Ponton's in the addition of sulphate of copper to the 
bichromate. 

* Bulletin de la Soci/te Francaise de Photographie, vol. ii., p. 215. 



A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 101 

Joseph Dixon, of Massachusetts, copied bank-notes in 184:1 
by mixing gum arable with bichromate of potash upon a 
lithographic stone, exposing to light throngli a bank-note, then 
washing away the unaltered portion of the gum, and, lastly, 
inking the stone and taking prints in the usual way. Dixon's 
method, however, was not published till 1854, when it ap- 
peared in, the Scientific American. 

The first "idea" of the chain of circumstances which has 
resulted in the carbon printing process of to-day is contained 
in a patent taken out by A. L. Poitevin on December 13th, 
1855, in which he describes the effect of light upon a layer of 
" chromatized " gelatine, adding " a design is produced in color 
by mixing a suitable color with the above-mentioned organic 
mixture, and when the photograph is impressed, washing away 
those portions of the mixture which have not been acted upon 
by the light," The " suitable color " might, of course, be 
printer's ink, lampblack, or any other form of finely divided 
carbon. 

On December 12th, 1857, Testud de Beauregard patented a 
further advance in the method of " producing photographic 
proofs or pictures by means of carbon or other coloring 
matter." 

His favorite method, which we should consider all but imprac- 
ticable, was to rub the pigment upon a surface of bichromatized 
gelatine ; but he adds, " or the paper (to be colored) may be 
immersed in a bath of India ink or other pigment ground up 
very fine with water and mixed with bichromatized gelatine." 
The paper, having been prepared in the dark, is exposed be- 
neath the neo;ative to the action of light, after which it is 
washed in hot water. This " dissolves the gelatine which has 
been acted upon by the light, but does not dissolve that which 
has been rendered insoluble by the action of the light, and 
which insoluble gelatine retains the pigment, and thus pro- 
duces the image." 

Beauregard's statement contains a clear outline of the princi- 
ple of the carbon process, but John Pouncy, of Dorchester, Eng- 
land, has always claimed to be the first to actually produce 
successful carbon prints. The specification of his patent is 
dated April 10th, 1858 ; but a fuller description of his method 



102 A HISTORY OF PHOTOGEAPHY. 

is contained in Sutton's PTiotograpJiic Notes for January 1st, 
1859. 

Pouncy exhibited his specimens at a meeting of the London 
Photographic Society, December 7th, 1858, from which body, 
however, he received little but depreciation and criticism. 
Pouncy's method consisted in brushing over and into paper a 
mixture of bichromatized gum and vegetable carbon ; the 
paper was then dried, exposed beneath a negative, and finally 
the picture was brought out or made visible by washing in 
water. 

By all these methods half-tones were wanting. The Abbe 
Laborde showed * the reason of this in 1858, saying : " In the 
sensitive film, however thin it may be, two distinct surfaces 
must be recognized, an outer, and an inner which is in contact 
with the paper. The action of light commences on the outer 
surface. In the washing, therefore, tlie half-tones lose their 
hold on the paper and are washed away," This was, in fact, 
the same defect which we have seen in connection with the 
bitumen process of the elder Niepce. 

In the same year (1858) J. C. Burnett gave a partial remedy 
for this defect by exposing through the hack of the coated paper ; 
placing, in fact, the uncoated side next to the negative. But 
in 1860, Fargier, in France, showed that the best way was to 
coat the exposed film with collodion, then transfer it bodily 
to glass, and wash away the unacted-on gelatine from the thus 
exposed back surface of the film. A similar process had 
been previously used by Poitevin, to whom the greater portion 
of the Due de Luynes' prize was ultimately awarded in 186Y. 

Improvements quickly followed ; in 1864 J. W. Swan pat- 
ented " carbon-tissue," which is simply paper coated with a 
mixture of gelatine, sugar, and coloring matter, "resembling 
black oil-cloth in appearance," and which can be sensitized at 
any time by floating it on a solution of potassium bichromate. 
The final touches necessary for success were given by J. R. 
Johnson in 1869, and by the " flexible support " patented by 
J. R. Sawyer in 1874. 

At present the carbon process is largely worked by the 

* Bulletin de , la Socicte Francaisc de Phologmphie, vol. ii., p 216. 



A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 103 

"Autotype Company," of Oxford Street, London, whose 
" autotypes " (carbon prints), made of any size up to twelve 
square feet, are alike beautiful and permanent. 

The " tissue " is usually purchased from tlie company, but if 
" ready-sensitized," it must not be kept long, as it rapidly de- 
teriorates. The exposure is a somewhat " blind process," as it 
effects no visible change on the black surface of the tissue, 
but it is rendered easy by the aid of an actinometer. The tis- 
sue is then soaked in cold water, squeegeed on to a piece of 
"Sawyer's flexible support," and washed with warm Avater 
till the paper backing and soluble gelatine are removed. The 
picture is Anally retransferred to its permanent support, usually 
white paper coated with insoluble gelatine. 

From this brief description it will be seen that the carbon 
process is scarcely suitable for photographers who " don't like 
much fuss or trouble, you know." It is, however, admirably 
fitted for commercial work and for the production of enlai-ge- 
ments. 

History of Printing with Salts of Uranium — Wothlytype. 
— Gehlen, in 1804, noted that uranium chloride is affected by 
light. 

But it was reserved for J. C. Burnett, in 1857-58,* and for 
Niepce de St. Victor, 1858-59,f to invent a practical printing 
process with this metal by floating paper upon a solution (1 to 
30) of uranium nitrate, exposing beneath a negative until a 
faint image was visible, and then developing by floating upon 
silver nitrate solution (40 grains to the ounce) or upon chloride 
of gold (9 grains to the ounce of water). Light changes uranic 
into uranous nitrate, and the latter salt is able to reduce gold 
and silver to the metallic state from their solutions. 

In 1864 Herr Wothly, of Aix-la-Chapelle, patented a print- 
ing process in wliich nitrate of uranium and nitrate of silver 
were contained in collodion, with which paper was coated. 
Beautiful prints were produced by the inventor, and a com- 
pany, with Col. Stuart Wortley at its head, purchased the En- 
glish patent ; commercially, however, it proved a failure. 

* Photographic Notes, 1857, pp. 97. 160 ; and Photographic Journal, 1859, 
p. 317. 

t English patent. Feb. 27th, 1858. 



104 A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 

History of Printing with Salts of Iron, Cyanotype, or the 
'-^Blue ProcessP — Several chemists, from Bestiischeff, in 1725 
downwards, noticed the action of light upon various compounds 
containing iron, but Sir John Herschel in 1840 and 1842 ■^ 
was the first to use the salts of that metal for photographic 
processes. Of the three methods which he devised, and which 
he named respectively, chrysotype, aurotype, and cyanotype, 
only the last-named has proved of practical value. Known as 
the " blue process '.' (because the picture is produced in white 
lines upon a blue ground), it is largely employed by engineers 
and others for copying plans, etc. Paper is coated with a mix- 
ture of ammonio-citrate of iron and potassium ferri-cyanide, 
the action of light upon this mixture being to change it into 
insoluble Prussian blue. The paper is dried, exposed beneath 
the negative, and cleared by simply washing it in water. 

History of Printing with Collodio- Chloride of Silver. — 
In a preceding chapter we remarked that Marc Antony 
Gaudin, of Paris, had sugg'ested the preparation of a " photo- 
gene " or liquid containing a haloid salt of silver with which 
paper or plates might be coated ; in 1861 he prepared such a 
sensitive liquid with the iodide and the chloride of silver, but 
achieved no practical success. 

At the close of 1864, G. Wharton Simpson (then editor of 
the Photographic News), announced f his discovery of a 
printing process in which chloride of silver contained in col- 
lodion was employed, and in March, 1865, he read a de- 
scription of the process to the London Photographic Society. 
Yery beautiful results were obtained, especially upon opal 
glass, bnt the eollodio-chloride paper, though ] prepared com- 
mercially in Germany, never got a fair footing in Great 
Britain. From this remark, however, we must except Mr. 
George Bruce, of Dunse, in the south of Scotland, who for 
twenty years or more has sent out all, or the greater part of 
his work, printed upon eollodio-chloride paper ; and with ex- 
cellent results so far as beauty of appearance and perma- 
nency are concerned. 



*See the Philosophical Transactions for those years. 
+ " Photographic Year Book for 1865," p. 63. 



A HISTORY OF PHOTOGEAPHY. 105 

Leptograpliic paper was a variety of collodio-cliloride paper 
introduced on the Continent in 1866. 

Willis's Aniline Process. — In November, 1864, "W, Willis 
patented a process for reproducing plans, drawings, tracings, 
etc., without taking a negative. Paper prepared with an acid 
bichromate was exposed beneath the plan to be copied ; it was 
subsequently developed by aniline vapor and fixed by wash- 
ing in weak acid and in water.* The operation is cheap, and 
the result said to be permanent. The method, however, 
never came into general use. 

Platinotype or Printing with Salts of Platinum. — Metallic 
platinum, which, like several other metals, is perfectly black 
when in the state of a fine powder, is one of the most stable 
substances known. It is not affected in the slightest de- 
gree by air, by moisture, or by acids ; and hence any photo- 
graph composed of it may be reasonably said, so far as the 
platinum is concerned, to be absolutely permanent. 

The fact that certain salts of platinum are sensitive to light 
was noted by Sir John Herschel in 1832,t and by Hunt in 
1844. When organic substances are present, the light exer- 
cises a reducing influence, changing platinic salts into platin- 
ous, and the latter into metallic platinum. An organic salt of 
iron — ferrous oxalate — acts especially well in assisting this re- 
duction. 

In 1856, Caranza published X a method for toning silver 
prints with an acid sokition of platinum chloride ; this gives 
black tones, while an alkaline solution gives brown ones. 
Eder and Toth (1875) showed that collodion negatives and 
lantern slides could be intensified in the same way. 

The ordinary platinotype printing process, which has become 
very weU known and widely practiced during the last few 
years, depends not on the direct infiuence of light upon pla- 
tinum salts, but mainly upon its action on certain organic salts 
of iron, which then react upon the platinum salt. 



* See Photographic News, 1865, pp. 186-196 ; and Biitish Journal of Pho- 
tography, March 16th, 1866. 

f Report of British Association ; Oxford meeting. 

X Photographic News, 1859, p. 351, and La Lumiere, February 23d, 1856. 



106 A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 

Herscliel discovered in 1840, that ferric were reduced to fer- 
rous salts by light ; that is to say, that under the influence of 
light iron parts with some of the non-metal lie element — oxygen, 
chlorine, etc., as the case may be — with which it happens to be 
combined. 

Hunt actually tried * to turn this fact to account in pho- 
tography by mixing ferric oxalate with platinic chloride, and 
when dry exposing to light. He noticed a slight darkening, 
but he missed the cardinal point — that the ferrous salt must 
be in solution before it can act. 

It was in June, 1873, that W. WiUis, jr., the actual inven- 
tor of our platinotype process, took out his first patent for 
platinotype in England ; he patented improvements on it in 
July, 1878, and in March, 1880. His process is now worked 
by the Platinotype Company at 29 Southampton Kow, High 
Holborn, London, under the management of Mr. Berkeley. In 
its latest form, the platinotype paper is prepared by coating 
paper with a mixture of chloro-platinite of potassium and ferric 
oxalate. This is exposed beneath the negative until a faint im- 
age is visible, when the paper is floated upon or drawn over a 
hot solution of potassium oxalate. In this liquid the (re- 
duced) ferrous oxalate is soluble, and immediately it is dis- 
solved it attacks the platinum salt in contact with it, abstract- 
ing the chlorine, etc., and reducing the j)latinum to the me- 
tallic state. The advantages of the process are permanency, a 
beautiful black " engraving-like " picture, simplicity of man- 
ipulation and great sensitiveness. Its progress has been re- 
tarded — in Great Britain at all events — by the fact that to 
practice it a license must be obtained from the patentees. 

An admirable account of the entire process and its history 
is contained in a little book written by the Austrian investiga- 
tors, Pizzighelli and Hubl, and jjublished by Harrison & Sons, 
Pall Mall, London.f 



* See Hunt's " Researches on Light," 1854. 
f Price 2 shillings. 



A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 107 



CHAPTEE XIIL 

BISTORT OF ROLLER-SLIDES; AND OF NEGATIVE-MAKING ON PAPER AND 
ON FILMS. 

There is nothing new under the sun — especially in photog- 
raphy. Two years ago the introduction of paper negatives and 
of a roller-slide to match, created quite &, furor in both England 
and the "States"; but from 1839 to 1855, or thereabouts, 
every English amateur used paper as the support for his " calo- 
type " pictures ; and the roller-slide is at least thirty-three years 
old. 

MelhuisK's Roller-Slide. — The first account of a roller-slide 
which we have been able to discover, is contained in a patent 
taken out in England by J. B. Spencer and A. J. Melhuish, on 
May 22d, 1854. The specification describes how " a series of 
photographic pictures may be obtained in succession upon 
a long sheet of sensitive paper, the parts of the paper or 
sensitive surface not in use, being rolled up within the 
frame of the camera. The frame in which the prepared 
surfaces are employed is fitted up with two rollers ; in 
using the apparatus after one picture has been taken, that part 
of the prepared sensitive surface is wound up on to one of the 
rollers, and a fresh quantity of the prepared surface suitable 
for receiving another picture is unwound off the other roller, 
and so on till all the prepared paper or surface on the roller has 
been used. Two rods or tubes of yellow glass are employed to 
retain the part of the sensitive surface which for the time be- 
ing is brought into position in the correct plane or position. It 
is preferred to focus directly on to the prepared surface when 
using waxed paper (instead of focusing on to a plate of ground 
glass), a plate of yellow glass having previously been placed in 
front of the lens to prevent the light from injuriously affecting 
the surface, and a plate of yellow glass is also placed behind the 
paper for the same purpose,'' 



108 A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 

The fact of the focusing being effected upon the paper coated 
with silver iodide and protected only by yellow glass, shows 
how comparatively insensitive to light were the materials then 
employed. A defect in Melhuish's slide was the apparent lack 
of any mode of registering when sufficient paper had been 
wound off one roller on to another to allow a fresh exposure. 
It is clear that it does not suffice to simply count the number of 
turns of the roller on to which the paper is wound, since that 
roller continually increases in thickness. Still, as the long 
band of paper was composed of a number of sheets gummed 
together, it was possible to see when one sheet had been 
completely rolled up by looking in at the back of the 
camera. 

In the Journal of the Photographic Society for April 21st, 
1856, there is a letter from Mr. Melhuish giving an account of 
his slide, and stating that " my best specimens at the Exhibi- 
tion were taken with the roUer-shde. It has been used by 
James Glaisher, Esq., F. K. S.; John South, Esq., of St. 
Thomas' Hospital, and Frank Haes, Esq., who have expressed 
themselves satisfied with its performance." In the drawings 
which accompany this note we see that the rollers were placed 
one on each side of the camera, instead of one on top and one 
below as in all other roller-slides. 

But in 1854 the roller-slide was "before its time," and its 
use was probably confined to the three or four gentlemen 
named above. 

Captain Barr'^s '■'•D ark-Slide P — It is singular that at the 
very time that Melhuish was striving to introduce his roller- 
slide to tlie notice of English photographers, an amateur 
worker in India — Captain Barr — had devised and was using a 
very similar instrument, being led thereto probably by the 
necessity for the lightest and most compact form of aj^paratus 
which could be constructed in order to overcome the difficul- 
ties of transport which presented themselves in many parts of 
that country. A description of this very original " dark-slide " 
— as Cajitain Barr called it — appeared in the first number of 
the Journal of the Photographic Society of Bomha,y, and was 
reprinted in Notes and Queries for April 21st, 1855. It con- 
sisted of a narrow box made to fit the back of the camera, and 



A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 109 

containing an upper and a lower roller, between and in front 
of which a plate of glass was placed. The sheets of paper 
were fastened to a band of black calico, which was then wound 
on the lower roller, and one end of the calico was strained 
over the glass and attached to the upper roller. This upper 
roller was actuated by a key which was worked from the out- 
side, and so the calico, etc., could be drawn from the lower to 
the upper roller as desired. The axis of the lower roller also 
passed through the side of the box, and was provided on the 
outside with a short index- roller of precisely the same diameter 
as the roller within. On this index-roller a piece of tape 
equal in length to the calico band, was wound, so that it was 
easy to judge of the amount of sensitive paper used by the 
length of tape unrolled. Another valuable precaution is given, 
by Captain Barr, " as a further precaution against light, and 
to guard against the evil effects of air upon the prepared paper, 
I leave the black calico band a foot longer than is necessary to 
carry all the (sensitive) paper. So that when all are wound round 
the roller, the last five or six plies are plain calico, thus excluding 
the light." It is remarkable that a correspondent of the Photo- 
graphic News, in 1886, suggested exactly the same thing for 
the Eastman rolls, but his claim to originality is clearly harr^d 
by this paper written thirty-one years ago ! Captain Barr 
adds another most valuable precaution which is to-day well 
worthy the attention of travelers in hot and moist climates : 
" I take the roller thus prepared out of the dark-slide and 
place it in a round metal case, which has a top which screws 
on air-tight ; in the center of this top is a short tube, opened 
and shut air-tight- at pleasure by a small stop-cock ; to this tube 
I attach a small suction-pump, and after all is thus prepared, 
I introduce the roller with the exposed paper into the metal 
tube, screw on the top, and exhaust the air. Lastly, shut the 
cock and remove the exhaust-pump." 

A fortnight after the appearance of Capt. Barr's paper in 
Notes and Queries, a Mr. T. E. Merritt, of Maidstone, claimed 
in the same periodical that he had "last year invented a 
camera with roller almost precisely similar to that of Capt. 
Barr, but somewhat more simple, inasmuch as I use a roller 
which by one turn winds off the entire picture, and brings 



110 A HISTORY OF PHOTOGEAPHY. 



anotlier into its place." Surely Mr. Merritt's roller must liave 
been of a disproportionate diameter ! 

WarnerMs Boiler-Slide. — From 1855 we pass to 1871,* 
when M. Leon Warnerke — a Hungarian engineer, who has 
done so much good work in England that he may be fairly 
claimed as an English photographer — invented what was per- 
haps the first really practical roller-slide. M. Warnerke ap- 
pears to have published the first account of his roller-slide in 
the middle of 1875,t He writes : " The principal components 
of the new dark-slide are two rollers on which the sensitive 
film is wound, and there is room for one hundred plates, A 
darkened glass plate is fixed in the front, in the place corre- 
sponding with the focusing surface ; this glass plate guides 
the sensitive film in the progress from one roller to the other, 
and secures its proper position. Each roller has a metallic 
head by which it can be put in motion. By means of these 
heads all the ribbon of sensitive film can be consecutively 
drawn from one roller, and, after exposure, rewound on an- 
other roller. But to secure perfect flatness there is attached 
to each head a pressing screw, that arrangement permitting 
the stretching of the film when in position. Before the sensi- 
tive film is attached to the roller, it is divided into sections 
corresponding with the size of the plates by black lines drawn 
in pencil, or otherwise, and each section is numbered. 

"In the sliding shutter there is a little window secured with 
orange glass and spring metallic shutter. Through the orange 
glass I am able to observe the black lines forming the divisions 
between the plates, and their corresponding numbers. This 
permits me to judge of the proper position of each consecutive 
plate." 

In 1875, M. Warnerke's paper or tissue was coated with 
collodion emulsion. Our more sensitive gelatine emulsion 
does not permit observation through an " orange window," so 
that in the improved form of M. Warnerke's roller-slide which 
he introdnced in 1885, he used first an electrical alarm, then a 



*In the "Photographers' Annual," issued by A. H. Wall, for 1870, 
there is a sketch of an ingenious roller-slide, designed by T. Wiseman. 
\ British Jounial of Photography, 1875, p. 306. 



A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. Ill 

spring indicator, and, lastly, a raeasiiring roller with indicator 
outside.* 

Modern Forms of Roller-Slides. — The idea of the roller- 
slide is, as we have seen, essentially English. Bat it was re- 
served for the American firm of Eastman, Walker & Co. (of 
Rochester, N. Y.), to step in and achieve a commercial success 
where Melhuisli and Warnerke had failed. This was done by 
the introduction of an admirably designed roller-slide of ex- 
cellent workmanship — machine-made, with all its parts inter- 
changeable — the details of which were first published in the 
summer of 1885. The success of the Eastman apparatus has 
been mainly due to the facts (1) that the roller-slide and the 
sensitive paper which it was to carry were put into the market 
together and by the same firm ; (2) that the roller-slide was 
designed by skilled engineers; thoroughly tested before being 
oflFered for sale, and excellent workmanshiiD invariably put in- 
to it. 

Other roller-slides, all showing ingenuity, have been pat- 
ented during 1885-87 by Messrs. Morgan and Kidd (of Rich- 
mond), S. McKellen, and J. E, Thornton (of Manchester), 
and by several others. But these are " creatures of to-day "; 
things whose descriptions still linger in our ears. Our main 
object here has been to draw attention to the past, and to show 
that the roller-slide — like most other inventions — did not 
spring into being perfect and full-fledged, but that it was first 
devised more than thirty years ago by Melhuish and by Barr ; 
then improved by Warnerke ; and finally, we may say, per- 
fected by Eastman and others. 

Re-introduction of Paper for Negative-making. — We 
have seen that Fox-Talbot employed paper solely as the support 
for the sensitive salt of silver (the iodide) which he used in 
his calotype process — so largely worked by amateurs from 
1841 to 1855, or thereabouts. By this method the silver iodide 
was literally formed within the paper, and was much a part of 
it as if it had been mixed with the pulp when the paper was 
made. The effect of this was that, except in the largest sizes, 
the " grain " of the paper was disagreeably evident in the fin- 

* British Journal of Photography, 1885, p. 601. 



112 A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 

islied print ; and, although the waxing of the paper before 
sensitizing, an improvement due to Le Graj, tended to obviate 
this by fining the pores of the paper, and so keeping the pic- 
ture more or less on the surface, yet it was only a partial 
remedy. 

However, the beauty, and above all the rapidity of Archer's 
collodion process on glass was such, that in a very few years 
after its introduction in 1851, it knocked paper out of the 
field altogether, and for negative-taking, glass coated with col- 
lodion was almost exclusively used from 1851 to 1880, and 
glass coated with gelatine from 1880 to 1885. In the last- 
named year paper once more came prominently to the front. 

Bland lar cf s Enlarged Negatives. — In 1875, Valentine 
Blanchard used paper for making enlarged negatives in the 
following way. He made an enlarged transparency in the 
camera, and from this took a deei> print (which, of course, 
would be a negative), which he waxed to increase its trans- 
parency, and used as an ordinary negative. In artistic hands 
this method offers great facilities for introducing effects, as re- 
touching, etc., can be done both on the transparency and on 
the enlarged negative. 

Gelatino- Bromide Paper for Negatives. — After the com- 
plete success of gelatino-bromide emulsion spread upon glass, 
in 1879-80, it was but natural to endeavor to apply the same 
material to paper. W. T. Morgan, of Greenwich, placed 
paper coated in this way in the market early in 1S80, intend- 
ing it mainly to be used for printing by development, after 
the manner suggested by Abney in the same year.* 

But Palmer, Ranking, and other amateurs saw the possibili- 
ties of the new material, and, cutting the paper to fit their 
dark-slides, used it for work in the field. The manufacturers 
took the hint, and in 1884 made a more sensitive paper, in- 
tended specially for negative work. Then in the summer of 
1885, the Eastman Company's negative paper was introduced 
simultaneously in England and the United States, and from 
the care and skill displayed in its manufacture, at once took a 
leading position. It is now very largely used, both in roU- 

* British Journal of Photography, pp. 103, 160. 



A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 113 

liolders carrying enough material for twenty-four exposures, 
and, cut to size, in carriers which fit the photographer's dark- 
slides. The secret of the beautiful results produced upon the 
"negative paper" now made consists in isolating the emulsion 
of silver bromide from the paper by giving the latter a pre- 
liminary coating of gelatine, the emulsion being thus kept on 
the surface. After development the paper negatives may 
either be printed from as they are, or they may be rendered 
more transj)arent by soaking in oil vaseline. 

As a method of abolishmg the " grain " of paper negatives, 
Warnerke patented in 1885, a process for covering a paper 
with emulsion on loth sides, so that any imperfections on one 
side were corrected by the image on the other, " rendering the 
composite negative perfectly smooth, no matter how coarse or 
imperfect was the texture of the paper employed." 

Lastly, in 1885, that inventive genius, Walter B. Woodbury, 
made paper transparent by soaking it in a solution of gum- 
dammar in benzole, after which it was coated with emulsion in 
the usual way. This paper, or " tissue," is now manufactured 
in London by Mr. Yergara, who has invented an ingenious 
double dark-slide to hold the tissue. 

J^Yl?)i or '■'■Tissue'^ Negatims. — Very early in the history of 
photography the possible benefits to be derived from removing 
the film bearing the picture from its glass support were recog- 
nized. 

In August, 1855, Scott-Archer patented a method of cdating 
collodion negatives with a solution of gutta-percha in benzole. 
When dry, separation of the film from the glass was obtained 
by soaking in water. The glass might also receive a prelimi- 
nary coating of gutta-percha, in which case the collodion film 
was enclosed between two waterproof films. 

In the same year (1855) the Frenchman Galliard coated col- 
lodion negatives with gelatine, and then stripped them from 
the glass. In 18TY, J. R. Johnson patented the appKcation 
of a double coating of collodion and gelatine for the same 
purpose. 

In 1869, Leon Warnerke commenced the preparation of 
sensitive collodio-bromide tissue, which was introduced into 
commerce in 1875. A film of collodion as transparent and 



114 A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 

textureless as glass was produced upon enameled paper, and 
this was coated, first with India rubber and then with collodion 
emulsion. 

After gelatine had displaced collodion, Warnerke (in 1885) 
manufactured a similar article, using gelatine in place of col- 
lodion, but in neither form can Warnerke's tissue be said to 
have come into general use. 

A notable discovery made by Warnerke, and patented by 
him in 1881, is that an exposed gelatine film developed with 
pyrogallic acid becomes insoluble in hot water in the parts 
affected by light. If it is soaked in warm water and squee- 
geed upon a glass plate, the pajDer can be stripped off, and the 
soluble gelatine washed away, leaving a reversed negative at- 
tached to the glass. Great things were expected of this process 
at the time of the discovery, but practically no use has been 
made of it. 

In 1881, H. Eogers showed how to strip negative films by 
varnishing them with gum-dammar dissolved in chloroform, 
and then soaking them in water. 

The book on " Retouching," published by BurroAvs & Col- 
ton in 1876, has for frontispiece an excellent " pellicular nega- 
tive," apparently consisting of a film of collodion coated with 
gelatine. 

The late W. B. Woodbury used, during the collodion times, 
a method by which glass was partly superseded, the same 
glass plates being used day after day. The glass was rubbed 
with talc, and then coated with collodion emulsion. After ex- 
posure these plates were developed, fixed, and washed, and a 
sheet of gelatine paper was squeegeed to the finished negative. 
When dry, the whole could be peeled off the glass, which was 
then ready for use again. At any convenient time the pajDer 
bearing the film was wetted and squeegeed down to a glass 
plate coated with insoluble gelatine. Finally the whole was 
soaked in warm water, which dissolved the upper layer of 
soluble gelatine, and the paper was stripped off, leaving the 
negative permanently attached to the glass. 

In 1881-82, Stebbing, of Paris, and Pumphrey, of Birming- 
ham, introduced sheets of gelatine made insoluble by a little 
h rome alum, and coated with gelatine emulsion. Pumph- 



A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 115 

rey's " Filmo-graph," as the camera adopted for use with tliese 
fihiis was called, was a really ingenious instrument, carrying a 
hundred films with ease. 

The Eastman " stripping films," which we first saw in the 
summer of 1885, are now just coming into use. They consist 
of a film of insoluble gelatine emulsion attached to a sheet of 
paper by a thick layer of soluble gelatine. After the film has been 
exposed and developed in the same manner as a gelatine plate, 
it is squeegeed, face downwards, on a glass plate coated 
with India rubber solution, allowed to dry, and is then 
placed in hot water, when the soluble gelatine is dissolved and 
the paper can be readily stripped off, leaving the insoluble gel- 
atine film firmly on the glass. Finally, a " skin " of prepared 
gelatine is moistened and squeegeed upon the negative, which, 
when dry, is easily stripped, as a whole, from its glass support. 

Films upon Card-board. — In 1883, Thiebaut, of Paris, 
patented a method of coating gelatinized paper first with collo- 
dion (hardened by a little castor oil), and then with a gelatine 
emulsion. Such films could be stripped dry from the paper 
support after exposure, development and fixing. Thiebaut, in 
1 885, substituted card-board instead of paper as a support for 
the emulsion. 

In 1886, Fumpbrey, of Birmingham, manufactured gelatine 
films, which were placed upon a support of thin ebonite cov- 
ered with some adhesive substance for exposure in ordinary 
dark-slides. In 1887, he used card-board as the support, and 
the film (known as " flexible glass ") is stripped before develop- 
ment. The films are developed and fixed as easily as glass 
plates ; they are then dried on card-board, varnished, and re- 
main flat and highly transparent. 

Advantages and Disadvantages of Paper and Films. — 
The principal advantage of paper or films over glass for nega- 
tive-making is, of course, their comparative lightness. This is 
most felt with the large sizes — whole plate and upwards — and 
is an especial boon to travelers and tourists. Then there is a 
marked absence of the halation or blurring which is so common 
upon glass, surrounding brightly-lit objects, or windows, etc., 
with a mist or halo of light. Paper negatives are also un- 
breakable, flexible, and can be stowed away in a very small 



116 A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 

space. Tliej can also — owing to their thinness — be printed 
froTn either side, thus obviating the necessity in certain pro- 
cesses of producing a reversed negative. From several paper 
negatives it is easy to form, by careful cutting, a single com- 
hination negative which shall unite the good qualities of each 
of its components. 

The disadvantages of paper are not many ; it is not quite so 
easy to manipulate as glass ; not being so transparent it does 
not yield prints so quickly ; and no thoroughly satisfactory 
mode of varnishing paper negatives has yet been announced. 
The "grain" visible in many paper negatives has already been 
alluded to ; lastly, it is not so easy to get good lantern-slides 
from paper as from glass. 

Balancing these points, good and evil, it is probable that 
glass will retain its pre-eminence for studio work and for small 
pictures ; while by those who travel and who desire to take 
good-sized pictures, paper or films will certainly be preferred. 




A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 117 



CHAPTEK XIV. 

HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY IN COLORS. 

There is probably only one thing which it is safe to predict 
about the problem of obtaining permanent photographs which 
sliall represent objects in their natural colors, and that is that 
the discovery, if it is ever made, will not be the result of an 
accident. The question must be studied and the conditions 
mastered before the attempt can be made with even the least 
chance of success. The following account is given with the 
hope of drawing attention to the progress which has already 
been made, whence it will be seen that, with regard to natur- 
ally colored pictures, we are now precisely in the position oc- 
cupied by Davy and Wedgwood with respect to ordinary pho- 
tographs at the commencement of the present century. Davy 
could obtain copies of objects upon paper coated with- silver 
chloride (1802), but he could not fix them. Similarly it has 
been possible for many years, certainly since 1848, to obtain 
naturally colored photographs ; but no certain means have yet 
been discovered by which they can be rendered permanent. 
The colors fade away when the pictures are exposed to light; 
or when they are treated with the ordinary " fixing agents " 
of the photographer. When will the ISTiepce, the Talbot, 
or the Herschel arise who will do for colors what these 
"fathers of photography" did for pictures in black and 
white ? 

Seebeck''s Experiment, 1810. — Early in the present century 
an observation was made which favors the views of those who 
believe in the possibility of reproducing, photographically, the 
natural colors of bodies. In 1810 Dr. Seebeck, of Jena, was 
engaged in repeating certain experiments, first made by Ritter 
in 1801, upon the existence of the ultra-violet rays. For this 
purpose Seebeck passed a beam of white light through a 
prism and received the spectrum, or band of colored light so 



118 A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 

produced, upon a sensitive surface of chloride of silver. Upon 
this substance he was afterwards surprised to see distinct 
traces of color. Describing the experiment in the Farhenlehre 
of Goethe, Seebeck writes : " When a sj^ectrum produced by 
a properly constructed prism is thrown upon moist chloride of 
silver paper, if the printing be continued for from lifteen to 
twenty minutes, whilst a constant position for the spectrum is 
maintained by any means, I observe the following: In the 
violet light the chloride becomes a reddish-brown (sometimes 
more violet, sometimes more blue), and this coloration extends 
well beyond the limit of the violet. In the blue part of the 
spectrum the chloride takes a clear blue tint, which fades 
away, becoming lighter in the green. In the yellow I usually 
found the chloride unaltered ; sometimes, however, it had a 
liglit yellow tint. In the red, and beyond the red, it took a 
rose or lilac tint. This image of the spectrum shows beyond 
the red, and beyond the violet, a region more or less light and 
uncolored." 

Ohservations of Herschel, Vaguerre and Talhot. — In 1839, 
Sir John Herschel also noticed the colors produced on sen- 
sitive surfaces by the action of colored light. He found that 
"the spectrum impressed upon a paper spread with the chlor- 
ide of silver is often beautifully tinted, giving, when the sun- 
shine has been favorable, a range of colors very nearly corres- 
ponding with the natural hues of the prismatic spectrum. The 
mean red ray leaves a red impression, which passes into green 
over the space occupied by the yellow rays. Beyond this a 
leaden blue is discovered." Daguerre noticed that a red house 
gave a reddish image on his iodized silver plates in the cam- 
era, and at an equally early date Fox-Talbot observed that the 
red portions of a colored print were copied of a red color on 
paper prepared with chloride of silver. 

Hunt Obtains Photographs Colored hy Light. — Between 
1840 and 1843 Robert Hunt tried many experiments on the 
production of colored images by light. By dipping paper 
first into nitrate of silver, and then into sodium fluoride, he 
obtained a thin coating of silver fluoride. "When this paper 
was exposed to the spectrum " the action commenced at the 
center of the yellow ray, and rapidly proceeded upwards, ar- 



A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 119 

riving at its maximum in the blue ray. To the end of the 
indigo tlie action was pretty uniform ; it then appeared to be 
very suddenly checked, and a brown tint was produced under 
the violet rays, all action ceasing a few lines beyond the lumi- 
nous spectrum. The colors of this spectrum are not a little re- 
markable. I have now before me a spectrum impressed two 
months since, and the colors are still beautifully clear and dis- 
tinct. The paper is slightly browned by diffused light, upon 
which appears the following order of colors : A yellow line 
distinctly marks the space occupied by the yellow ray, and a 
green band the space of the green ; through the blue and in- 
digo region the color is an intense blue, and over the violet a 
ruddy brown." Although this description is not very clear, 
it seems to point to two modes of treatment of the sensitized 
paper. The colors were only obtained in the second case, 
when the paper had been insolated, or exposed to light for a 
short time before the spectrum was allowed to fall upon it. 

Other results obtained by Hunt are recorded as follows :* 
"A paper prepared by washing with barium chloride and 
nitrate of silver, allowed to darken whilst wet to a chocolate 
color, was placed under a frame containing a red, a yellow, a 
green, and a blue glass. After a week's exposure to diffused 
light it became red under the red glass, a dirty yellow under 
the yellow glass, a dark green under the green, and a light 
olive under the blue." 

In another experiment tried in 1843, with paper prepared 
with bromide of silver and gallic acid, "the camera embraced 
a picture of a clear blue sky, stucco-fronted houses and a green 
field. The paper was unavoidably exposed for a longer period 
than was intended — about fifteen minutes. A very beautiful 
picture was impressed, which, when held between the eye and 
the light exhibited a curious order of colors. The sky was of 
a crimson hue, the houses of a slaty blue, and the green fields 
of a brick-red tint." Hunt adds : " Surely these results ap- 
pear to encourage the hope that we may eventually arrive at 
a process by which extei'nal nature may be made to impress its 
images oxy prepared surfaces in all the beauty of their native 
coloration." 

* " Researches on Light," 1844, p. 277. 



120 A HISTORY OF PHOTOGKAPHY. 

BecquereVs Experiments in Color Photography.^ — Perhaps 
tlie most successful reproductions of color by means of plio- 
tograpliy which have ever been made, were obtained by the 
French physicist, Edinond Becquerel, in 1848. Taking a sil- 
ver plate, such as is used in Daguerreotype, he obtained a thin 
and very uniform coating of chloride of silver upon its surface. 
This he sometimes effected by soaking it in chlorine water 
until the silver assumed a rose tint, or by dijDping it into solu- 
tions of cupric or ferric chloride. By jDreference, however, 
Becquerel placed the silver plate in a solution of hydrochloric 
acid, and attached to it a wire from the positive pole of a vol- 
taic battery ; the wire from the negative pole being fastened 
to a plate of platinum, which also dipped into the acid solu- 
tion. By this means the hydrochloric acid was decomposed, 
and the chlorine being drawn by electrical attraction to the 
silver plate, combined with it chemically, forming a surface of 
silver chloride of great purity. As the combination of silver 
and chlorine took place, the layer of silver chloride gradually 
increased in tliickness, and as it did so its color changed to 
gray, yellow, violet, and blue ; and, continuing the action, 
these colors appeared a second time. When the second violet 
tint had been obtained, the silver plate was withdrawn from 
the solution, washed and dried, and gently heated until the 
surface assumed a rosy hue. When the spectrum of sunlight 
or of the electric arc was received upon a plate so prepared, 
an exposure of a few minutes was sufficient to impress the 
diverse colors. Colored images of bright dressed dolls were 
also obtained. 

Failure in Fixing Colored Images. — After Becquerel had 
obtained such favorable results, it may be asked, how is it that 
further progress has not been made, and why are not colored 
photographs more frequently produced ? The answer is that 
no certain means has hitherto been found of fixing the colored 
images secured ; they can only be examined in a faint light, 
and must be kept locked up in drawers and excluded from the 
day. They last longer when protected from the air, for oxy- 



* See "Comptes Rendus," 1848 and 1854; also "Annal de Chimie," 
1849. 



A HISTORY OF PIIOTOGEAPHY. ' 121 

gen has a detrimental effect upon the colors. Becquerel, how- 
ever, appears to have succeeded in rendering more or less per- 
manent mme^ at any rate, of his " heliochromes." One which 
he presented to Brewster was lent by the latter to J. Traill 
Taylor, who exposed it for several days to bright sunshine 
without injury to the colors.* 

Experiments of the Younger Niepce. — ISTiejice de St. Victor 
repeated Becquerel's experiments, but he found it better to 
form the chloride of silver by immersing the silver plate in a 
solution of chloride of lime.f He also reduced the time of ex- 
posure by coating the chlorinized surface with a solution of 
chloride of lead in dextrine. Niepce believed that a relation 
existed between the colors impressed and the source from 
which the chloride was obtained ; and in 185Y he published 
the results of some experiments on the connection between the 
colors imparted to flame by certain metallic chlorides, and the 
colors impressed on silver plates prepared from the same 
chlorides. Subsecpient investigations have not, however, con- 
firmed this theory, Niepce sent specimens of his work to the 
London Exhibition of 1862, consisting of about a dozen repro- 
ductions of prints of figures with parti-colored draperies. Each 
tint in the pictures exhibited was a faithful reproduction of 
the original, including yellows, blues, reds, greens, etc., all 
very vivid. Some of the tints faded at once when these 
pictures were examined by daylight, but others remained for 
some hours. 

Poitevin obtains Colored Copies on Sensitive Paper. — In 
1868,:{: A. Poitevin examined and extended the results ob- 
tained by Herschel and Hunt. Taking paper sensitized in the 
usual way with silver chloride, he washed it and exposed the 
sensitive surface to light for a short period. The insolated 
paper was then dipped into a solution containing bichromate 
of potash and copper sulphate, and finally dried. When such 
paper was exposed to light beneath a transparent colored pic- 
ture — as a painting on glass — the colors of the pictures were 



"^British Journal of Photography, December 29th, 1865. 
f Series of papers in Comptcs Rendtis, 1851 to 1863. 
X Comptes Remhis, 1868, vol. Ixi., p. 11. 



122 A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 

reproduced on the paper. Poitevin states that the colors so 
obtained could be fixed by means of sulijliuric acid. 

Another French experimenter, St. Florent, in 1874, de- 
scribed * a method of obtaining similar results in a rather dif- 
ferent manner. Paper is soaked first in silver nitrate, and 
then in a mixture of uranium nitrate and zinc chloride, ren- 
dered acid with hydrochloric acid. The paper is dried and 
exposed to light until the surface is slightly darkened ; it is 
then floated on a solution of mercuric nitrate, again dried, and 
is then ready for exposure to the colored light whose impres- 
sion it is desired to secure. 

Color^ed Coynes obtained with Ptvper — Ahneifs Researches. 
— With reference to colored images obtained upon paper, Cap- 
tain Abney remarks :t " It must not be forgotten that pure salts 
of silver are not being dealt with as a rule. An organic salt of 
silver is usually mixed with chloride of silver paper, this 
salt being due to the sizing of the paper, which, towards 
the red end of the spectrum, is usually more sensitive 
than the chloride. If a piece of the ordinary chloride of silver 
paper is exposed to the spectrum till an impression is made, it 
will usually be found that the blue color of the darkened 
chloride is mixed with that due to the coloration of the dark- 
ened organic compound of silver in the violet region, whereas 
in the blue and green this organic compound is alone affected 
and is of a different color from that of the darkened mixed 
chloride and organic compound. This naturally gives an im- 
pression that the different rays yield different tints, whereas 
this result is simply owing to the different range of sensitive- 
ness of the bodies," 

But the colored images obtained upon daguerreotype plates by 
the method of Becquerel must be truly due to the distinct effects 
of different rays of light, for in that case there is no organic 
compound present to interfere with the results. 

Acting on a suggestion made in December, 1865, by the 
then Paris correspondent of the British Journal of Photog- 
raphy., R. J. Fowler (formerly of Leeds), several trials were 
made by English experimentalists, and in particular by J. 

* In the Btdldtin de la Societe Frangaise de Photographic. 

f " Encyclopjedia Britannica," vol. xviii., p. 835 (ninth edition). 



A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 123 

Traill Taylor and G. Wharton Simpson, in the course of the 
following year, to utilize collodio-chloride of silver films in ob- 
taining colored images. The colors obtained were not so vivid 
as those secured by Becquerel upon daguerreotype plates, but 
they were visible by transmitted as well as reflected light. 

Pretended DisGove7'ies of Photography in Colors. — A year 
seldom or never passes without the announcement in some 
newspaper or other that " Photography in colors is at last an 
accomplished fact ! " In some cases the " discovery " merely 
relates to a modification of the well-known mechanical process 
by which — several negatives being employed — the picture is 
printed piecemeal, each portion receiving a daub of a separate 
color. Frequently the method adopted is to render the pho- 
tograph transparent and color it on the back; some such plan 
has been patented on an average twice a year for the last 
twenty years ! 

Other reputed "discoveries'" are due to the fact that by 
faulty manipulation, colors of some kind or other are not un- 
frequently obtained upon collodion — as in Hunt's example — 
or even on gelatine plates ; or they may be the result of a 
splitting of the film, giving the '' colors of thin plates." Some 
novice noting these, to him, marvelous appearances, writes in 
haste to the papers that he has secured the long-wished-for re- 
sult — a result, however, which he finds himself unable to re- 
produce. 

Still other cases are deliberate frauds. Thus, in 1851, an 
American preacher named Hill, obtained almost general cre- 
dence for his statement that he could produce photographs 
" glowing with all the colors of nature !" Naturally, so won- 
derful a process was to be called Hillotype. The Kev. Mr. 
Hill obtained a considerable sum of money by inducing pho- 
tographers generally to subscribe— payment in advance, of 
course — ^for a book which should contain all the details of this 
startling discovery. After many delays the promised book 
appeared ; but what was the disappointment of the subscribers 
to find it a mere two-penny pamphlet qontaining the outhnes 
of the Daguerreotype process, with complications and additions 
just sufficient to render the obtaining of any picture at all a 
very improbable matter ! 



124 A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 

Origin of the Colors obtained upon Salts of Silver. — The 
most recent researches upon photography in colors are those 
of Captain Abney.* He states that the colors obtained by 
Becquerel and others upon Daguerreotype plates are due to 
the oxidation of the silver compounds employed. When the 
sensitive plates are exposed in the j)resence of some oxidizing 
agent, as by dipping them into peroxide of hydrogen before 
or during exposure, the colors are produced more speedily. 

The same investigator points out that there are several 
known molecular combinations of bromide of silver, which can 
readily be distinguished from each other by the fact that they 
absorb different rays of light. 

Thus we are acquainted with : 

(1) A modification of silver bromide which transmits and 
reflects orange light. This form of the silver bromide mole- 
cule exists in paper which has been sensitized with silver bro- 
mide, on plates coated with a coUodio-bromide fihn, and on 
collodion-bath plates. TMs molecule will clearly be chiefly 
affected by the blue rays, since it absorbs the blue end of the 
spectrum, and work is done only by those rays which are 
absorbed. 

(2) Another form of the silver-bromide molecule appears of 
a bluish-green tint, by transmitted light. This modification 
absorbs the light of the red end of the spectrum, and even the 
invisible or " dark heat " rays which lie beyond the red. By 
taking advantage of this property, Captain Abney was enabled 
to obtain photographs of the region called the " ultra red," 
which proved its extension over a length exceeding that of the 
whole of the spectrum ordinarily visible. 

(3) Silver bromide contained in emulsions which have been 
boiled, or treated with ammonia, appears of a gray tint by 
transmitted light. 

By an exposure of two minutes to the band of colored light, 
produced by passing a beam of white light through a spectro- 
scope, Abney obtained colored pictures of the solar spectrum 
upon silver (Daguerreotype) plates, and upon collodion films. 



* "Proceedings of the Royal Society," 1879, vol. xxix., p. 190; vol. 
xxxiii., p. 1G4, 



A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 125 

He considered the colors obtained to be due to the niixtnre, 
upon the same plate, of the first two modifications of the 
silver-bromide molecule described above ; the first absorbing 
the light of the blue, and the second that of the red end of tlie 
spectrum. 

The admirable researches of Carey Lea upon the '' photo- 
salts" of silver, published in the Amerioan Journal of Science, 
during 188Y, constitute an important advance, and their author 
believes that the new substances which he has discovered and 
isolated, will ultimately furnish the key to the question of 
pliotography in colors. 

But still the original problem confronts and bafiies us. Ko 
means are known of giving permanence to the size or form of 
these color-producing molecules ; indeed, the molecules are 
themselves decomposed, or radically altered, by the ordinary 
" fixing agents " employed by the photographer. 

Under the influence of white light also the colored mole- 
cules of silver bromide change ; they are decomposed and the col- 
ors disappear. And after all, the colors which we have as yet 
been able to obtain, but not to fix, by means of photography, 
are but faint and dim, poor reflections of the brilliant tints of 
nature. 

In this work of obtaining naturally-colored photographs 
there is clearly a fine field for experiment and research. How 
many photographers have attempted even to confii-m the re- 
sults obtained by Becquerel, Niepce, Carey Lea, and Abney ? 
And yet what an interesting and important task this would be. 

The references given above will enable anyone who has ac- 
cess to a good library, such as our leading photographic socie- 
ties ought each to possess, to ascertain more fully the details of 
working. 



126 A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 



CHAPTER XY. 

HISTORY OP THE INTRODUCTION OF DEVELOPERS-SUMMING UP. 

A Brief History of Development. — 1. In ISTiepceotype the 
picture was " broiiglit out " by simply washing the exposed 
bitumenized plate with a solvent, which washed away those 
portions of the asphalt that had not been acted on by light 
(1827). 

2. A Daguerreotype was developed by causing the vapor of 
mercury to act upon a surface of silver iodide ; the metallic 
vapor condensed on those places where the light had acted, in 
proportion to the intensity of the light (1839). 

3. The developer for calotypes was a mixture of gallic acid 
and silver nitrate. The former of these bodies is a powerful 
reducer ; i. e., it is able to separate the metallic silver in the 
silver nitrate from the other substances with which it is com- 
bined. This newly-liberated silver is attracted hy those por- 
tions of the sensitive surface upon which the light has acted, and 
is deposited upon them in the exact ratio of the intensity of the 
light (1841). 

4. Archer (in 1851) developed his collodion plates by pour- 
ing on them a mixture of pyrogallic acid and acetic acid in 
water. The action was precisely the same as in the calotype pro- 
cess ; and, as the wet collodion film was already covered with ni- 
trate of silver, there was no necessity to add more of that sub- 
stance to the developer. Ferrous sulphate (first used by Eobert 
Hunt in 1844) was frequently employed instead of gallic or 
pyrogallic acid as a silver reducer in the wet collodion process. 

5. For our modern dry-plate work all the developers de- 
scribed above have been displaced by what is known as "alka- 
line development," in which the developer consists of pyro- 
gallic acid, ammonia, and ammonium bromide, dissolved in 
^^ ater. The ammonia exercises a stimulating action upon the 
pyro, while the ammonium bromide prevents any action on the 



A HISTORY OF THOTOGKArHY. 127 

parts of the silver l)romide wliicli have not been affected by 
light The silver to form the image is obtained from the sil- 
ver bromide embedded in the gelatine, or in the collodion with 
which the plate is coated. Light acts upon certain of the sur- 
face molecules of this silver bromide, displacing some or all 
of the bromide, and leaving (let us say for simplicity's sake), 
scattered molecules of silver to bear testimony to its action. 
Yet, upon removing an exposed plate from the camera, no pic- 
ture is visible upon its white surface. The reason is that the 
isolated particles of silver are too small and too few to be visi- 
ble ; just as a handful of shot could not be detected by the eye 
if mixed with a sack of flour. But uuder the stimulus of the 
alkaline developer the reduced silver molecules attack the 
molecules of silver bromide heneath them, abstracting their sil- 
ver, and this action goes on until " the high-lights'' become 
visible at the back of the plate, by which time it is, as a rule, 
sufficiently developed to give a dense image after " fixing," 
as we call the process of clearing away the unacted-on silver 
bromide. 

The alkaline developer appears to have had its incej^tion in 
America. In 1862, the news reached England that Messrs. An- 
thony and Borda had found great benefit iu fuming dry-plates 
with ammonia before development. At the same time Mr. 
Leahy, of Dublin, found that a little liquid ammonia added to 
a plain pyrogallie acid developer brought out the image very 
rapidly. But Major Kussell, the author of the tannin process, 
had for some time been at work in the same direction, and in 
the second edition of his book on the "Tannin Process," pub- 
lished in 1863, we find the first complete account of a worka- 
ble system of alkaline development. Russell not only described 
the accelerating action of ammonia, but he showed the necessity 
for the presence in the developer of a soluble bromide, in order 
to prevent fog. Since 1862, the carbonates of ammonia, soda 
and potash have been used in turn as the alkahue element of 
the developer in place of ammonia, but the latter still retains 
most votaries in England, although the fixed alkalies (soda and 
potash) find great favor in America. 

6. In 1877, Carey Lea, in America, and Willis, in England, 
simultaneously announced that ferrous oxalate formed an ad- 



128 A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY, 

mirable developer for plates containing bromide of silver. 
Ferrous oxalate is best made by pouring one part, by measure, 
of ferrous sulphate into three parts, by measure, of potassium 
oxalate, both the solutions being saturated. This developer has 
found great favor on the Continent, It gives clean plates, but 
there is not the same power of remedying an incorrect exposure 
as with pyro and ammonia. 

Scores of other developers have been proposed, which the 
limits of our space forbid us referring to in detail. 

Advance of Photography. — From what has been written it 
will be seen that the progress which has been achieved in pho- 
tography during the bi'ief half century of its existence has been 
mainly in the direction of rapidity. It is not so much that we 
take J6'^fer pliotographs in 1887 than in 1839, as that we take 
them in a fraction of the time then required. The following 
table shows this very clearly : 

Process. Date of Discovery. Time required. 

Heliograpliy 1837. 6 hours. 

Daguerreotype 1839, 30 minutes. 

Calotype 1841. 3 minutes. 

Collodion 1851. 10 seconds. 

Collodion Emulsion Dry-Plates 1864. 15 seconds. 

Gelatine Emulsion 1878. 1 second. 

The above are average exposures, compared with a certain 
standard ; bnt gelatine plates can be prepared to take fully- 
exposed pictures of brightly-lit landscapes in the two-hundredth 
part of a second. Perhaps the most rapid exposures made are 
those by which M, Janssen, the French astronomer, daily takes 
photographs of the sun at the observatory of Meudon, near 
Paris, in the two -thousandth part of a second. This rapidity 
of our modern gelatine plates has led to the invention of a 
great variety of " shutters," by which the opening admitting 
light through the camera lens is opened and closed in the frac- 
tion of a second. A skillful operator can take off and replace 
the ordinary " cap " of a lens in the third of a second, but for 
what are called instantaneous exposures it is necessary to do 
this in the one-eighth — or less — of a second ; and for this pur- 
pose we replace the cap by a shutter. 

Conclusion. — And now we are compelled to end our review 



A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY. 129 

of the growth of this young giant, this science of our own time 
— Photography. We have said much, but we feel how much 
there is left unsaid. We desired to speak of the improvements 
in lenses, of the application of photography to the microscope, 
of astronomical photography, and of several minor topics the 
history of whose discovery is the best road to their thorough 
comprehension ; but at present we must be satisfied with hav- 
ing traced the " main line " from end to end. 

And what lessons there are to be read in this story of the 
advance of photography. How beautifully it exemplifies the 
theory of evolution, process rising out of process, and improve- 
ment following on improvement, in as orderly, though far 
more rapid a manner, as the horse has been evolved from the 
hipparion ! Let it be our task to sustain the rate of progress, 
and then the photographers of the twentieth century will 
esteem our labors as highly as we do the work of Niepce and 
Talbot, of Archer and DagueiTe. 




130 APPENDIX. 



APPENDIX. 

DB. 9IADD0X ON THE DISCOTEBY OC THE GELi^TINO-BROMIDE PROCESS. 

Feeling that some further details of the discovery of the 
now universally employed gelatino-bromide of silver process 
would be of great interest in the history of i3hotography, I 
wrote to the veteran worker, Dr. Eichard Leach Maddox,* to 
whose labors we are indebted for our gelatine dry-plates, to gain 
additional information as to the steps by which he was led to the 
inception of the work which will always be associated with his 
name. I am sure that the readers of this book will peruse with 
special pleasure the account which he has given of the work 
done by him sixteen years ago, which has been so fruitful. 
Some may feel inclined to wonder that having done so much — 
having advanced so far on the road to success, and with the 
goal in view — that Dr. Maddox did not do more, and himself 
perfect his valuable discovery. To such be it said that for more 
than half a century Dr. Maddox has borne with patience a pain- 
ful disease which would have incapacitated most men from all 
work that was not absolutely necessary. Then the imperative 
calls of his profession, and the splendid work he has also done 
in photo-micrography must be taken into account, and when 
we remember all this, we see that the wonder is not that he did 
not do more, but that he did so much, and did it so well. 

And now we will let Dr. Maddox speak for himself : 

"PoETSwooD, Southampton, August 19, 188Y. 

Dear Sir — In your favor of the 17th inst. you express a wish 
" to know more how and why my attention was directed to gel- 
atine and silver bromide ? " If you find the answer rather a 
complex one you must excuse it upon its threefold character. 

Firstly the cost of the collodion, with the troublesome manu- 

*Born at Bath. 1816. 



APPENDIX. 131 

facture of the cotton. Secondly, health more or less affected 
by its constant use when working, as I was in my camera, a 
dressing-room, often at a very high temperature in the summer 
months ; and thirdly, dissatisfaction with the dry methods for 
the photo-micrographic work upon which I was much en- 



The first reason may be dismissed as of little moment when 
there was an adequate return upon the work done ; but not so, 
when there was an absolute loss even in an amateur's point of 
view. The second reason was a more important one. Being 
often shut up for hours in the said camera, the temperature at 
full summer heat, I found the system completely saturated 
with the vapor of the collodion, so much so that it could be 
tasted in the breath on awakening in the night, and sleep was 
generally much disturbed and mirefreshing, while it was much 
needed to restore the nervous energy wasted by constant suffer- 
ing, often very severe in character ; moreover there was an out- 
cry in the household that the collodion vapor unpleasantly per- 
vaded every room in the house. The third reason was that I 
could find no satisfactory dry or sticky process that did not em- 
brace the first two reasons, and add another of its own in the 
shape of additional time and trouble in the preparation of the 
plate. 

These reasons set me experimenting, sometimes on paper, 
sometimes on glass, with vegetable gummy matters as lichen, 
linseed, quince seed, and starchy substances as rice, tapioca, 
sago, etc. ; and with waxy material as Japanese vegetable wax. 
Often I fancied I was just within the doorway when the door 
closed, and other plans had to be tried. All the literature I 
could find bordering on the subject was searched, but it rather 
bewildered than enlightened. At last I turned to the animal 
series, and wasted many eggs and some little silver ; then I 
went to the finest isinglass at about twenty shillings the pound 
weight, and the very first exjjeriment led me to hope I was on 
the right track ; something had to be altered, as I was using 
iodo-bromide in varying collodion proportions, and the isin- 
glass did not appear to yield a sufficiently even surface in spite 
of all kinds of filtering ; yet confidence was felt that a vein 
had been struck. Search was now made in the house for a 



1 32 APPENDIX. 

packet of Nelson's gelatine ; this afforded a better surface, 
especially as the plates were dried generally on a hot one-inch- 
thick iron slab, and tested at once. Then came the mixture 
of isinglass and gelatine, but the advantages pointed to gela- 
tine. The little plates were tried under a negative, then on 
out-of-door objects, but it was impossible to get some laurels 
depicted in anything more than black and white. I remem- 
bered that someone had stated that the bromides were better 
suited than the iodides for foliage — now came the experiment 
of diminishing the iodide and increasing the bromide until it 
settled into bromide alone. Yet I was not satisfied ; but ex- 
perimenting went on so rapidly that often I did not wait to 
filter the gelatine before mixing the bromide of silver in it. 
Before this period, that talented experimenter, Mr. Carey Lea, 
had spoken of the use of aqua regia, and my attention was 
turned to it, fancying that its use would decompose some of 
the gelatine and furnish the extra silver a chance of forming 
an organic salt of silver which might possibly improve the 
image. After working with this and getting more satisfactory 
results, various substances were mixed with the gelatine, as 
gum, sugar, glycerine, etc., which gave different tints to the 
developed negatives, and it was seen that it only required 
further ex|3erimenting to put gelatine into use, for some of 
the negatives were fairly plucky, and half tones beautifully 
rendered, but, compared with collodion, the gelatine was 
slower, although it stood its ground with some of the dry pro- 



Paper had not been neglected, for among the paper trials 
with the gelatine was one which I thought gave much promise, 
the tint on development equaling much of the kind at the 
present day. This was obtained by the addition of a small 
quantity of arsenite of silver. 

There was no thought of bringing the subject into notice 
until it had been lifted from the cradle. Soaking the plates 
before use, for, of course, I knew the useless 'salts were left in 
the gelatine, was noted down for trial ; but at this stage, and 
while in the very hey-day of experimenting, there came an ur- 
gent appeal from my kind friend, Mr. J, Traill Taylor, to as- 
sist him, without delay, by an article for the British Journal 



APPENDIX. 133 

of Photograjyhy, of which he was then editor, as he had been 
taken seriously ill. 

Without a moment's hesitation, and thinking it would give 
my friend pleasure, the hurriedly written and fragmentary 
article that appeared in the September Journal, 1871, was 
forwarded to him, and proofs by sundry negatives were also 
sent, some of which, almost entirely defaced, my friend, Mr. 
W. B. Bolton, and I found three or four years since among 
the glass in the office at No. 2 York Street. Another pen had 
also come to the rescue, and my paper was deferred to the fol- 
lowing weekly issue, when Mr. Taylor, with far-sighted judg- 
ment, noted the process had a future before it. 

Health had now fairly broken down, rest was needed, so that 
very little further experimenting was done ; and as there were 
other irons in the fire demanding attention, the process was offered 
to a firm in Southampton, from whom I used to get my album en- 
ized paper ; but it was found there was no time to continue 
the necessary experiments to raise the rapidity and enhance its 
value. This was done at different stages by others, ahnost two 
years after I had freely given to the public what had cost me 
much time and labor. 

The world has been benefited and I have been honored with 
a gold medal and diploma by the Jurors' Committee of the In- 
ventions' Exhibition. Do not for one moment suppose I ignore 
the work of other hands in perfecting the gelatino-bromide 
process, and thus giving it its world-wide value in all depart- 
ments of photography, especially that far-reaching one of its 
adaptation to astronomical research. I am only too thankful 
to feel that I have been merely the stepping-stone upon which 
others have safely put their feet, though now and then there 
cropped up the old story of the prophet in his own country — 
let it pass, this is the jubilee year. I am grateful to those 
abroad and at home who like yourself have recognised the 
original claim of 

Dear sir, yours most truly, 

R. L. Maddox. 

W. Jerome Harrison, Esq., Birmingham. 



134 \ BIOGRAPHIC SKETCH OF THK AUTHOR. 



A P.TOGEAPinC SKETCH OF THE AUTHOR. 
1>Y W. I. Lincoln Adams. 

William Jerome Harrison, the bibliograplier, as well as 
historiim of photography, was born at Henisworth, in York- 
shire, March 16th, 1845. While still a child, he acconipanied his 
parents to Australia, a journey undertaken in the hope of im- 
proving his father's health, who, however, died shortly after 
his arrival there, lleturning to England, young Harrison was 
educated — with a special view to his joining the schohistic pro- 
fession — for seven years at the Westminster Training College, 
and afterwards for two years at Cheltenham, He left Chelten- 
ham CuUege as senior prizeman, and holder of the highest 
obtainable government certilicate, and was shortly afterwards 
ap])ointed head master of a large boys' school in Leicester. 

Mr. Harrison's scientific education may be said to have com- 
menced in 1868, when he began to study for the examinations 
of the science and art department. Within the next ten 
years he carried off the highest distinctions in chemistry, phy- 
sics, geology and physical geography, being double gold 
medalist (by marks) in the last two subjects in 1872. During 
these years he spent much time in the laboratories of the gov- 
ernment science schools at South Kensington, under Profes- 
sors Erankland, Valentin, Huxley, Guthrie, Judd, etc. 

In 1872 Mr. Harrison was appointed chief curator of the 
Leicester Corporation Museum, in connection with which he 
established very large and successful science classes. His 
original work at this time was done mainly in connection with 
geology. He was elected a Fellow of the Geological Society 
in 1876, and received repeated grants from the lioyal Society 
to enable him to prosecute geological researches. 

In 1876 he published a " Manual of Practical Geology," 
but his most important book in this line is the " Geology of 
the Counties of England and of JMorth and South Wales," 



A BIOORAPHIO SKETrn OF THE ATTTIIOK. 135 

wliicli appeared in 1882, and at once was recognized as a 
standard work. The establishment of the school board sys- 
tem, in 1870, revohitionized educational matters in England. 
When the new boards got fairly to work, those of the great 
manufacturing towns recognized the importance of science as 
a branch of education, and in 1880 Mr. Harrison received the 
important appointment of Science Demonstrator to the School 
Board of Birmingham, a town with a population of half a 
million, situated in the very center of England. With a large 
staiF of assistants, well appointed laboratories, and a technical 
school, he has the direction of the scientific studies of about six- 
thousand of the elder children, and of some hundreds of the 
younger teachers. 

Eor his success in the organization of this work, Mr. Har- 
rison was awarded a medal by the Society of Arts in 1881. 
For continued work in geology he receiv.ed the Darwin Medal 
in 1884, and at the recent meeting of the British Association 
in Birmingham, he acted as Secretary of Section C (Geology), 
to which he also contributed several papers. He is also a 
frequent contributor to the Cornhill^ Knowledge, The National 
Dictionary of Biograjphy^ etc. 

In photography Mr. Harrison is essentially a '' dry-[)late 
man," not having commenced practical work in the art-science 
till 1881. lie has devoted his attention mainly to the historical 
and scientific side of the subject, and his researches on the 
" Literature of Photography" have resulted in the publica- 
tion, for the first time, of a complete list of English books on 
the subject, embracing more than three hundred works by 
about half as many authors. 

In this "History of Photography," Mr. Harrison has given 
the' condensed results of his study of the contents of these 
books ; but he has also collected a great mass of information in 
the form of all the "papers" on photography which hiive ap- 
peared in general literature during the past half century, to- 
gether with the numerous periodicals which have been issued 
in connection with the science. 

Mr. Harrison's favorite implement is a Scovill whole-plate 
camera, fitted with the Eastman roll-holder; but he also carries 
a 4 X 5 camera, from which he enlarges and makes lantern- 



136 A BIOGRAPHIC SKETCH OF THE AUTHOR. 

slides. His pictures, illustrating geological phenomena, at- 
tracted much attention at an important exhibition held in 
Birmingham in connection with the visit of the British As- 
sociation in September, 1886. From the Councils of the 
South Kensington Exhibitions of 18Y6 (Scientific Appara- 
tus), and 1884 (Education), Mr. Harrison received in the 
one case the thanks of the Council, and in the other a Diploma 
of Honor for assistance rendered. 

Mr. Harrison is Yice-President of the Birmingham Photo- 
graphic Society, of which he was one of the founders, and is 
also a member of the Council of the Photographic Convention 
of Great Britain. 




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Tasteful, well edited and crammed full of technical information is The Photographic Times.' 

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Is a WEEKLY JOURNAL devoted to the 

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Contrifiuted and Miscellaneous Articles by the best photographic writers at home 

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Correspondence— Scientific and practical discussion of important and interesting questions, 

by practical photographers, and letters from all quarters of the globe, by intelligent and 

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XX 



'' PHOTO wpviG nmm wiimr 

A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO THE PROFESSIONAL AND AMATEUR 
WORKER. 

Scovill's Photographic Series, Number Twenty-two. 
By the Rev. W. H. Burbank, 

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INTRODUCTION— Theory of Light; Action of Light Upon Sensitive Compounds 
Resume of Printing Processes. 

Chapter I. — Printing with Iron and Uranium Compounds. 
Chapter II. — The Silver Bath. 
Chapter III. — Fuming and Printing. 
Chapter IV. — Toning and Fixing— Washing. 
Chapter V. — Printing on other than Albumen Paper. 
Chapter VI. — The Platinotvpe. 
Chapter VII. — Printing with Emulsions. 
Chapter VIII.— Mounting the Prints. 
Chapter IX. — Carbon Printing. 
Chapter X. — Printing on Fabrics 
Chapter XI. — Enlargements. 

Chapter XII.— Transparencies and Lantern Slides. 
Chapter XIII. — Opal and Porcelain Printing. 
Chapter XIV. — Photo. Ceramics — Enamelled Intaglios. 
Chapter XV. — Photo-Mechanical Printing Methods. 
Chapter XVI. — Various Methods for Putting Pictures on Blocks and Metal Plates 

for the Use of the Engraver. 
Chapter XVII. — Recovery of Silver from Photographic Wastes— Preparation of 

Silver Nitrate, etc 
INDEX. 

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PRICE, IN SUBSTANTIAL CLOTH BINDING, $1.00. 

For sale by all dealers and by 

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SOME OFINIONS. 

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so completely." — The Photographic Times. 

" The photographic world will be under no small obligation for this very convenient 
compendium of all that is most wanted as information and instruction, whether to the 
practiced printer who sometimes torgets formulse, or to the beginner who has them all to 
learn," — The Nation. 

" A good general hand-book of printing methods has for some time been one of the 
things needed in the English language, and we congratulate the Rev. W. H. Burbank on 
the way he has tilled the need." — The Photographic Ne2vs. 

" The reverend author is entitled to much credit." — British Journal of Photography. 

" It is a splendid work— thoroughly practical. Well worth double its price." — The Phil- 
adelphia Photographer. 

"The Rev. W. H. Burbank is to be congratulated upon his exploit." — W. M. Ashman. 

" It is a valuable book for every photographic printer. It treats very thoroughly of 
all known processes." — St. Louis Pliotographer. 

" This is the best selling book I ever had." — Satn C. Partridge. 



More than 500 copies sold within the first month after 
publication. 



A STANDARD BOOK OP REFEEENOE. 



THE 

AMERICAIT AITITUAL OF PHOTOGRAPHY 

AND 

"PHOTOGRAPHIC TIMES" ALMAHAC 

For 1887, 
C. W. CANFIELD, Editor, 



ARE RAPIDLY DISAPPEARING. 



It contains five full page illustrations : 
AN EXQUISITE PHOTOGRAVURE, by Ernest Edwards. 

A BROMIDE PRINT, by the Eastman Company. 

A SILVER PRINT, by Gxistav Cramer, of St. Loais. 

TWO MOSSTYPES, by the Moss Engrarin? Company. 
19*7 pages of Contributed Matter, consisting of articles on various 

subjects, by 80 representative writers of this country and Europe. 
Also, in addition to the contributed articles : — Yearly Calendar. Eclip- 
ses, the Seasons. Church Days, Holidays, etc. Monthly Calendar, giving 
Sunrise and Sunset for every day in the year ; Moon's phases ; also, dates 
of meetings of all American Photographic Societies. A list of American 
and European Photographic Societies. Photographic Periodicals, Ameri- 
can and European. Books relating to Photography, published 1886. Ap- 
proved Standard Formulse for all processes now in general use. Tables 
of Weights and Measures. American and Foreign Money Values. Com- 
parisons of Thermometric Readings. Comparisons of Barometric Read- 
ings. Symbols and Atomicity of the Chemical Elements. Symbols, 
Chemical and common names and solubilities of the substances used in 
Photography. Tables for Enlargements and Reductions. Equations re- 
lating to Foci. Tables of Comparative Exposures. Freezing Mixtures. 
Photographic Patents issued 1886. Postage Rates. All Tables, Formulae, 
etc., brought down to date and especially prepared or revised for this work 

PricBf per Copy, 50 Cents. Postage, 10c, 
" Cloth Bound, $1,00, '* " 

A few author's copies, bound in white leatherette, gilt lettering, 
and printed upon laid paper, each $2.50. 
For sale by all dealers, and by the publishers, 

SOOVILL MANUFAOTUKING COMPANY. 



ScoviU's Photographic Series. 



No. I.— THE PHOTOGRAPHIC AMATEUR.— By J. Traill Taylor. A Guide 

to the Young Photographer, either Professional or Amateur. (Second Ed.) $o 50 

No. 2.— THE ART AND PRACTICE OF SILVER PRINTING. (Second Edition) 5c 

No. 3. — Out of print. 

No. 4.— HOW TO MAKE PICTURES.— (Fourth edition.) The A B C of Dry-Plate 
Photography. By Henry Clay Price. Illuminated Cover, 50 c:s. ; 
Cloth Cover 75 

No. 5.— PHOTOGRAPHY WITH EMULSIONS.-By Capt. W. De W. Abney, 
R.E., F.R.S. A treatise on the theory and practical vyorking of Gelatine 
and Collodion Emulsion Processes. (Second Edition.) i 00 

No. 6. — No. 17 has taken thejplace of this book. 

No. 7.— THE MODERN PRACTICE OF RETOUCHING.-As practiced by M. 

Piguepe, and other celebrated experts. (Third Edition) 25 

No. 8.— THE SPANISH EDITION OF HOW TO MAKE PICTURES.-Ligeras 

Lecciones sobre Fotografia Dedicados a Los Aficionados i oo 

No. g.— TWELVE ELEMENTARY LESSONS IN PHOTOGRAPHIC CHEM- 
ISTRY.- Presented in very concise and attractive shape. (Second Edition.) 25 

No. 10. -THE BRITISH JOURNAL PHOTOGRAPHIC ALMANAC FOR 1883. 25 

No. II.— Out of print. 

No. 12.— HARDWICH'S CHEMISTRY.— A manual of photographic chemistry, 
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Leatherette Binding 2 50 

No. 13.— TWELVE ELEMENTARY LESSONS ON SILVER PRINTING. 

(Second Edition) 50 



No. 14.— ABOUT PHOTOGRAPHY AND PHOTOGRAPHERS.-A series of in- 
teresting essays for the studio and study, to which is added European 
Rambles with a Camera. By H. Baden Pritchard, F.C.S 

No. 15.— THE CHEMICAL EFFECT OF THE SPECTRUM.- By Dr. J. M. 
Eder 

No. 16.— PICTURE MAKING BY PHOTOGRAPHY.- By H. P. Robinson. 
Author of Pictorial Effect in Photography. Written in popular form and 
finely illustrated. Illuminated Cover, 75 cts. ; Cloth 



No. 17.-FIRST LESSONS IN AMATEUR PHOTOGRAPHY.— By Prof. Ran- 
dall Spaulding. a series of popular lectures, giving elementary instruc- 
tion in dry-plate photography, optics, etc. (Second Edition) 25 

No. 18.-THE STUDIO: AND WHAT TO DO IN IT.- By H. P. Robin.son. 
Author of Pictorial Effect in Photography, Picture Making by Photog- 
raphy, etc. ; Illuminated Cover 75 

No. 19.— THE MAGIC LANTERN MANUAL.— (Second edition.) By W. I. 

Chadwick. With one hundred and five practical illustrations ; cloth 75 

No. 20.-DRY PLATE MAKING FOR AMATEURS.— By Geo. L. Sinclair, M.D., 50 

No. 21.- THE AMERICAN ANNUAL OF PHOTOGRAPHY AND PHOTO- 
GRAPHIC TIMES ALMANAC FOR 1887.— (Second Edition.) 50 cents; 
(postage, ten cents additional). Cloth bound 100 

No. 22.— PHOTOGRAPHIC PRINTING METHODS.-By the Rev. W. H. Bur- 
bank. A Practical Guide to the Professional and Amateur Worker. Cloth 
Binding i 00 

No. 23.- A HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY : Written as a Practical Guide and an 
Introduction to its Latest Developments, by W. Jerome Harrison, F. G. S., 
and containing a frontispiece of the author. Cloth bound i 00 



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HOW TO MAKE PHOTOGRAPHS.— Containing full instructions for making Pa- 
per Negatives. Sent free to any practitioner of the art. New edition just out.. 

ART RECREATIONS.— A guide to decorative art. Ladies' popular guide in home 

decorative work. Edited by Marion Kemble 2 00 

THE FERROTYPERS' GUIDE.— Cheap and complete. For the ferrotyper, this 

is the only standard work. Seventh thousand 75 

THE PHOTOGRAPHIC STUDIOS OF EUROPE.— By H. Baden Pritchard, 

F.C.S. Paper, 50 cts. ; Cloth i 00 

PHOTOGRAPHIC MANIPULATION.— Second edition. Treating of the practice 

of the art and its various applications to nature. By Lake Price i 50 

HISTORY AND HAND-BOOK OF PHOTOGRAPHY.— Translated from the 

French of Gaston Tissandier, with seventy illustrations 2 50 

AMERICAN CARBON MANUAL.— For those vi^ho want to try the carbon print- 
ing process, this work gives the most detailed information 2 00 

MANUAL DE FOTOGRAFIA.— By Augustus Le Plongeon. (Hand-Book for 

Spanish Photographers.) Reduced to i.oo 

SECRETS OF THE DARK CHAMBER.- By D. D. T. Davie $1 00 

HOW TO SIT FOR YOUR PICTURE.-By Chip'. Racy and sketchy 30 

THE PHOTOGRAPHER'S GUIDE.— By John Towler, M.D. A text-book for 

the Operator and Amateur » i 50 

A COMPLETE TREATISE ON SOLAR CRAYON PORTRAITS AND 
TRANSPARENT LIQUID WATER COLORS.-By J. A. Barhydt. Practical 
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on Crayon, will be able to make a good Crayon Portrait 50 

THE BRITISH JOURNAL ALMANAC FOR 1887 5° 

PHOTO NEWS YEAR BOOK OF PHOTOGRAPHY for 1887 50 

CANOE AND CAMERA.— A Photographic tour of two hundred miles through 

Maine forests. By Thomas Sedgwick Steele. Illustrated i 50 

PADDLE AND PORTAGE. — By Thomas Sedgwick Steele i 50 

PRACTICAL INSTRUCTOR OF PHOTO-ENGRAVING AND ZINC ETCH- 
ING PROCESSES.— By Alex. F. Leslie 5c 

PHOTO-ENGRAVING on Zinc and Copper in Line and Half-Tone, and PHOTO- 
LITHOGRAPHY. A Practical Manual, by W. T. Wilkinson. Cloth bound. . . 2 00 



PHOTOGRAPHIC REFERENCE BOOKS. 

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AMERICAN HAND-BOOK OF THE DAGUERREOTYPE.— By S. D. Hum- 
phrey. (Fifth Edition.) This book contains the various processes employed in 
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THE NEW PRACTICAL PHOTOGRAPHIC ALMANAC- Edited by J. H. 

FiTZGIBBON 25 

MOSAICS FOR 1870, 1871, 1872, 1873, 1875, 1878, 1882, 1883, 1884 25 

BRITISH JOURNAL ALMANAC FOR 1878, 1882 25 

PHOTO. NEWS YEAR-BOOK OF PHOTOGRAPHY FOR 1871, 1882 25 

THE PHOTOGRAPHER'S FRIEND ALMANAC FOR 1873 25 

xxiv 



Wilson's Photographic Publications. 



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WILSON'S PHOTOGRAPHICS.— By Edward L. Wilson, Ph.D. The newest 

and most complete photographic lesson-book. Covers every department. 

352 pages. Finely illustrated 4 °o 

WILSON'S QUARTER CENTURY IN PHOTOGAPHY. -By Edward L. Wil- 
son, Ph.D. " The best of everything boiled out from all sources." Pro- 
fusely illustrated, substantially bound 4 co 

THE PROGRESS OF PHOTOGRAPHY SINCE THE YEAR 1879.— By Dr. H. 
W. VoGEL, Professor and Teacher of Photography and Spectrum Analysis at the 
Imperial Technical High School in Berlin. Translated from the German by 
Ellerslie Wallace, Jr., M. D. Revised by Edward L. Wilson, Editor of the 
Philadelphia Photographer. A review of the more important discoveries in 
Photography and Photographic Chemistry within the last four years, with 
special consideration of Emulsion Photography and an additional chapter on 
Photography for Amateurs. Intended also as a supplement to the Third Edition 
of the Handbook of Photography. Embellished with a full-page electric-light 
portrait by Kurtz , and seventy-two wood cuts 3 °o 

PHOTOGRAPHERS' POCKET REFERENCE BOOK.— By Dr. H. W. Vogel. 
For the dark room. It meets a want filled by no other book. Full of formulas- 
short, practical and plain I 50 

PICTORIAL EFFECT IN PHOTOGRAPHY.-By H. P. Robinson. Fortheart 

photographer. Cloth, $1.50; paper cover 100 

WILSON'S LANTERN JOURNEYS.— By Edward L. Wilson, Ph.D. In two 
volumes. For the Lantern Exhibitor. Gives incidents and facts in entertain- 
ing style of about 2,000 places and things, including 200 of the Centennial Exhibi- 
tion. Per volume 2 00 

THE PHOTOGRAPHIC COLORISTS' GUIDE.-By John L. Gihon. The 

newest and best work on painting photographs ; Cloth i 50 

PHOTOGRAPHIC MOSAICS. Published annually. Cloth bound, |i.oo; Paper 

cover 50 

PHILADELPHIA PHOTOGRAPHER.— Published Semi-Monthly. Illustrated. 

Per year, $5.00 ; with weekly Photographic Times 650 



SOME OPINIONS 

OF THE 

Photographic Times. 



I CONGRATULATE you on making the Photographic Times the leader 
of American photographic periodicals. A. B. Stebbins. 

We cannot keep house without the Times. W. H. Dunwick. 

Your Photographic Times gets better every number. Fred. White- 
head, Augustine, Fla. 

I AM very much pleased with the Times, and value it more highly than 
any other I have seen. John M. Rae, Sutton, West, P. O. 

After seeing a specimen copy I could not possibly do without the 
Photographic Times, Fred. Whitehead, Augustine, Fla. 

Without your journal the fraternity are behind the times, and, like a 
crab, are moving backwards. A. K. A. & M. Liebich, Cleveland, O. 

Any Photographer that will go without the Times weekly, ought to go 
without his head. J. W. Ai.ldings, Waterbury. 

It is a most admirably arranged journal, presents a handsome appear- 
ance, and is a credit to its publishers. John Worthington, U. S. Consul 

In behalf of the Times allow me to say that I have been a regular sub- 
scriber for nearly three years, and though I take a large number of jour- 
nals of various kinds, there is none I look for with more interest than 
the Times. Prof. W. S. Goodnough. 

I believe it unnecessary to state that I regard the Times as one of the 
best journals devoted to photography published in the English language, 
and find many others of a like opinion. John G. Casselbaun. 

All here (England) who have any real knowledge of the subject, agree 
that the Times is the best medium in America. W. M. Ashman. 

I bind my Times each year, and find it makes, with a good index, a 
very valuable storehouse of information. G. F. H. Bartlett. 

I RECEIVE my weekly Times, and am delighted with its fresh and in- 
structive contents, giving at all times something to think about and ex- 
periment with. A. S. Murray, President of the Pittsburgh Amateur Photo- 
graphic Society. 

As times were rather tight this spring, I thought to economize by 

taking the , but it is too much watered — too thin entirely, too much 

chaff to the kernel of wheat. I can't live on husks alone ; please take pity 
on me and send the weekly Photographic Times from the beginning of 
the present volume, and oblige, E. Ferris, Malone, New York. 

The Times is a very great help to beginners in the art of photography 
like myself. Unlike many other journals, your articles are practical and 
simple, and a wonderful help to those of us who are trying to learn to 
" take pictures." I read it with intense interest, and hope that you will 
continue to make it a journal for amateurs as well as for those more ad- 
vanced in the art. A. D. Cutter, Cleveland, O. 



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